Brothers James and John Chivas, from near Ellon, opened a grocery store at 13 King Street, Aberdeen, in 1801. The store sold luxury foodstuffs such as coffee, exotic spices, French brandies, and Caribbean rums to a wealthy clientele. In 1842, Chivas Brothers was retained to supply provisions to the royal family at Balmoral Castle upon Queen Victoria’s first visit to Scotland.
In 1843, Chivas Brothers was granted a Royal Warrant to supply goods to Queen Victoria. The May 8, 1890 edition of Scotland Magazine described Chivas Brothers as “undoubtedly the finest purveying business in the north of Scotland”.
During the 1850s James Chivas decided to respond to his affluent customers’ demands for a smoother whisky, by beginning to blend whiskies to create a blend proprietary to Chivas Brothers. The firm’s first blended Scotch whisky, Royal Glen Dee, was launched, followed in the 1860s by a second proprietary blended Scotch whisky, Royal Strathythan.
In the early 1900s, Chivas Brothers decided to create its most aged blended Scotch whisky to export to the United States, where the booming economy after the turn of the century was fueling demand for luxury goods. The whisky was named Chivas Regal.
Chivas Regal 25 Year Old was launched in 1909 as the original luxury Scotch, and became a leading brand in the United States. Chivas Regal continued its success until Prohibition in the 1920s.
Chivas Regal was purchased by Seagrams in 1949, which enabled a much wider distribution and marketing system.
In 1950, the company was able to buy the Strathisla Distillery, which produces the Strathisla single malt whisky used in the Chivas Regal blend.
Chivas Regal was re-launched as Chivas Regal 12 year old in the US following the disruption of both Prohibition and World War II. Chivas became a fashionable brand of the era, and became associated with Frank Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack. Chivas Regal was the Scotch whisky requested by Sinatra, along with other spirits brands backstage at performances, and Chivas sponsored his Diamond Jubilee Tour in 1990.
In 1997, the Chivas Regal range was expanded with the launch of longer aged whiskies, with the launch of Chivas Regal 18 year old, and in 2007 with the launch of Chivas Regal 25.
Chivas Regal was acquired by Pernod Ricard following a joint bid with Seagram Spirits & Wine in December 2000 by Pernod Ricard and Diageo