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Glen Elgin 12 Year Old

Average score from 5 reviews and 16 ratings 85

Glen Elgin 12 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Glen Elgin
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

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Glen Elgin 12 Year Old

Not many whiskies simultaneously fall under the categories of affordable and wonderful. When such whiskies do come around, geeks like us are usually quick to find them and start singing their praises. But some do manage to stay under the radar. Glen Elgin 12, for example.

Nose: Initially closed, with sherry and fruits. Honey, butter, pears, apple, banana, bran muffins, malt, coffee, oak, woodspice, cinnamon, allspice.

Palate: Thick, rich, and mouth-coating. Caramel, indistinct sherry, roasted malt, butter, bran muffins, apples, dates, dark roast coffee,

Finish: Gets more “roasted” here, and I love it. Dark roast latte, butter, rich malt, molasses, honey-drizzled dates, and bran muffins again.

Thoughts: You might not want to trust your first impression here. It’s not a “wow” whisky, but you should spend time with it. This is an unexpectedly “craft” dram from Diageo. Even with a low abv, it’s rich, with a malt-forward profile. I really like the roasted malt/coffee note, as well as the bran and butter flavours. This whisky is mouth-coating, with a thick, juicy texture. There’s an old-school Speyside charm to it. Among the best value-for-money buys in the whisky world, I think. This is an under-appreciated whisky.

Yeah it's not a wow whisky, and I understand a mid-80's score. The mouth coating texture and the malt/coffee flavours just work for me. I do think more people should try this, though, especially considering the price.

Great review, the lack of a wow factor does not detract from a fine spirit well matured without gimmicks. I think whisky's of this ilk can and should score 9/10 when they're this good from nose to finish.


I don't mind whiskies like this one. There's not much fanfare. They choose to remain understated and deliver above your expectations.

Primarily a distillery that produces malts for blending giants Diageo, Glen Elgin has a charming expression in this 12 year old.

A bright nose with sparkling fruits - like a fruit salad dropped in an aerated drink complemented by a faint layer of cherry licorice and musky mens' cologne. Nice.

A no-nonsense palate if a touch one-dimensional. Toffee and banana caramel sprinkled with white spices. Maybe a touch of limestone. Not very intense.

A medium finish also a bit spicy and a touch chalky.

When you don't expect a lot you can be pleasantly surprised. A morning whisky if there is one.


Glen Elgin 12 years old gave me mixed emotions. For me it feels like a sequel to something more full. That's why it was easy to make a reference to Kill Bill. Kill Bill vol. 2 wasn't completely bad but comparing it to vol. 1 it is like a teenager trying to fight with a contender.

Kill Bill vol. 2 was meant to be deep and it kinda tripped into it's own deepness. I think that's what happened to Glen Elgin 12 yrs. It got too complex and mixed too different flavors together. It is hard to follow. Like any Tarantino movie, it isn't bad, that's not the case. It just leaves you baffled.

Nose: Floral with honey and toffee attached to it.

Taste: This is tricky. On the other side its smooth and fruity sweet but it also kinda gives you spices and maybe even hints of smoke(?). There's definitely caramel in there.

Finish: Spicy and oily finish. This is very tricky for me indeed.

Balance: Not very balanced. Made my tasting very difficult. This was part of our whisky society tasting so it's a shame I didn't have my own bottle of this. Glen Elgin 12 yrs surely needs more exploring.


Glen Elgin is somewhat of a forgotten malt in the Diageo canon - you cannot get distillery bottlings here in Ontario. But it is often considered more deserving than Cragganmore of being their Speyside selection in their Classic Malt range, and this standard 12 year old expression certainly bears that out.

The nose is incredibly fruity and malty, very vibrant and exciting. Sharp vanilla, raisins, coconut, and a fair bit of oak for a 12 year old.

On the palate, darker fruits and oak for sure - it tastes older than 12. But that is balanced by beautiful floral notes. Very soft and luscious. More malt in the mouth than on the nose, believe it or not. Rosehip and resin - a great interplay between the spirit and the wood. Water gives it a creamier mouthfeel but does little to the flavour and nose profiles. Which is fine as those profiles are lovely enough already.

Medium-length finish, not overpowering, floral with gentle waves and a bit of spice at the back. The 12s of Glenfiddich and Glenlivet are always considered the "entry level" single malts but this Glen Elgin deserves that label - so vibrant, fruity, dangerously drinkable. Could use a little more bite, to my liking - but it's a fine young Speysider.

Part II will look at a 12 year old Glen Elgin, bottled by Duncan Taylor for their Dimensions series, at 46% ABV - this will be reviewed another day!


To celebrate the Speyside festival we have a new tasting: hidden gems of speyside. First up, Glen Elgin 12. Glen Elgin distillery was the last distillery to be built during the boom years of the 1890s. It’s owned by drinks giant Diageo and most of the 1.8 million litres annual production goes into blends such as White Horse. Glen Elgin has a quirky set up, including the use of worm tubs, an old fashioned means of condensing spirit hardly used these days. This 12 year old is the only official single malt bottling, and it is a fresh and fruity dram with a classic Speyside profile.

Tony says: Fresh and fruity, a well rounded malty taste with a with a woody twang that slightly overwhelms the finish

Pat says: Nose: Floral, light wispy honey, chicory and bay leaves. Strong hints of toffee and lardy cake.

Taste: Initially honey, then dry, dusty and slightly perfumed fruit. Faintly smoky. Hint of caramel and carroway seed. The finish is increasingly spicy with fresh wood.

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