Paste as a publication has often touched on soccer (or football, if you like) throughout its publication history, but it’s safe to say I still know little about the game. Even living in Atlanta in recent years, home to the champion Atlanta United, who rapidly became the city’s most popular sports team, I never seriously invested my attention and energy into the game in any real or meaningful way.
But whisky? That I can get into, even if it’s specifically soccer-branded whisky. And I know just how passionate soccer fans could be, especially for world-famous clubs like Manchester United. It’s safe to say that those kinds of fans will no doubt be intrigued by the existence of this new Chivas Regal 13, the “Manchester United Special Edition.”
According to the brand, this new, 13-year-old statement of the classic Chivas Regal blended scotch whisky is being produced in honor of Sir Alex Ferguson, the club’s legendary former manager. Chivas says the following:
At Chivas we believe that blended is better, in life and in Scotch – a belief that was also brought to life on the field during Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure at Manchester United. This whisky has been crafted to celebrate his rare genius and unique ability to drive success year after year, with a blend of different players. Just as Sir Alex’s legacy lives on, we hope that, with our first ever 13-year-old and its inimitable selective American rye cask finish, we’ve created a blend that won’t soon be forgotten.
As that quote implies, a portion of this blend was matured in former American rye whiskey casks, offering a twist on the more standard used bourbon barrels that make up a sizable portion of the blend. So let’s get to tasting, and answer the question of how this blended scotch lives up to a fairly reasonable $35 MSRP.
On the nose, this has the sort of homogenized blend of disparate notes you expect to pick up in a decent blended scotch. I get plenty of toffee and green apple, caramel sauce and cinnamon, with a steadily increasing presence of roasted nuts that makes it seem a tad sherry-like.
On the palate, the big green apple fruitiness is certainly there again, atop the thinner body you expect in a blend of malt and grain. Moderate sweetness presents as both honey and toffee simultaneously, with hints of florals, light spice, nuts and very light peat somewhere far in the background. It’s easy to drink, as you’d expect, with pretty well integrated alcohol, and a lingering kiss of cinnamon sugar.
All in all: Perfectly serviceable blended scotch, ideal for mixing purposes, although a neat dram is easygoing enough, if you’re a blended scotch drinker. Would I turn it down at a football tailgate? Certainly not.
Distillery: Chivas Regal (Pernod Ricard)
City: Keith, Moray, Scotland
Style: Blended scotch
ABV: 40% (80 proof)
Availability: 750 ml bottles, $35 MSRP
Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident brown liquor geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more drink writing.