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Glen Garioch 12 Year Old

Average score from 6 reviews and 17 ratings 81

Glen Garioch 12 Year Old

Product details

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

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Glen Garioch 12 Year Old

This review is from a sample kindly sent by @Wierdo. I've added about two drops of water to a 20ml pour and let it sit for ten minutes or so.

Nose - Initial hints of sweet fruits (strawberries and raspberries) and toffee with a touch of fresh ginger and soft baking spices. Some creamy vanilla emerges with time alongside some soft oak and a hint of peat.

Taste - I expect sweetness but it's the spices that stand out, especially the ginger which gives it a nice 'biting' quality. Some dry fruit comes out as it develops. Enjoyably thick mouthfeel and quite rich.

Finish - Med - long and quite drying with some slightly bitter green tea notes and a hint of sherry sweetness.

My initial taste of this was all about the sweet fruits but even allowing a little air to the sample bottle has helped this. Much more rounded and less overtly 'desert like' on this tasting. I like its balance and feel this is a good example of a Highland whisky - a little bit of everything; if pressed, I'd put it in the Benromach 10 'category', if that makes sense? Overall, fairly impressed but having had the luxury of a sample, I'd probably pick up the aforementioned over this and save a few quid in the process.

I think the review is fair @RianC and about right in terms of score. I have the same feelings as you about it. It's similar-ish to Benromach 10 but a bit more expensive and probably not worth the extra. If I fancied a highland style malt and I saw a bottle in a shop I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. But I wouldn't go out of my way to locate a bottle.

@Wierdo - Cheers, mate. Aye I'd not turn a dram of it down that's for sure but there are definitely better options out there.


This Glen Garioch is fresh, crisp, creamy and sugary. A warming desert. The nose offers aromas of a refreshing mint julep and milky caramel drizzled over a red and delicious apple. The cold woodsy scent of a frozen tree branch breezes in at the end. On the palate, sugar and cinnamon jump out immediately chased by a sharp dryness. The dryness carries to the finish and through. The caramel and red and delicious come back, peel on. The bitterness of the apple's skin sits on the palate for a short to medium finish. Glen Garioch is a refreshing addition to my cabinet. I like to enjoy a dram after an outdoor sports activity.

I have tried the new 12 yr and Founders Reserve and both are really solid single malts. The 12 yr had a bit of a bite when I first opened it and sort of a charcoal after taste which I didn't care for at all. After oxidizing and a few weeks in the bottle, I tried it again. The sting had mellowed and the after taste sweetened to something very nice. I rate this about 85 points and got another bottle of it. This stuff is very good!


This is a review of the new bottling, not the one with the stag, at 48%.

Nose: The nose without water is a bit congested to me: powerful sweetness and woman's perfume. After adding two teasponns of water, the whisky opened up. Crème brûlée, brown sugar, pears, vanilla, overripe bananas and flowers. A previous reviewer mentionned smoke and there is effectively a very vague hint of smokiness, the kind you get when you try to start a bonfire with wet and green wood. After 30 minutes, I got more menthol (crème de menthe, mint chocolate) and hard candy.

Palate: Medium bodied. With two teasponns of water: roasted nuts, crème brûlée again, sweet malt, fruits in a compote, hard candy, minty chocolate, then the whisky turns a bit tannic and bittwersweet on me. Not necessarily a bad thing and not offputting, but I would've like to continue the visit to the candyshop a bit longer...

Finish: Not terribly long. This is 12 year old after all. Flowers with cocoa nibs and maybe, maybe a hint of smokyness. This is this whisky's low point.

A good bottle that needs, in my very own opinion, a bit of water to show its true potential. For an entry malt, it shows character and it drinks like an older whisky. This is less syrupy/honeyish than the old 12 year old bottling and I prefer this version. A good option at this pricepoint (60ish $ CAN in Quebec). For the whyski drinker that likes a sweeter and subtle (without being insipid) dram.


This new (sorta) Glen Garioch 12 Year Old is bottled at a strength of 48% and has a nice full golden colour.

The nose reveals a lot of malt, orchard fruit (apples and pears) and gooseberries, but als osome crème brulée and a clear hint of smoke. This reminds me of some old blends. Of good quality, of course.

It is fairly creamy and spicy on the palate. Green banana, nuts and toffee. Good body. Sweet malt and again that old edge that I cannot put my finger on. Nice.

In the long finish, I get caramel, coffee and again that smokiness.

What a pleasant surprise. This is, after all, the Glen Garioch entry level malt, available for less than 40 EUR.


A week or so ago, I enjoyed a private tasting with my excellent Toronto friends @kvass1970, @thecyclingyogi and @cpstecroix. @kvass1970 pulled out a Glen Garioch miniature (undated, but clearly bottled a long time ago) and it was amazing. He observed that it had a heaviness to it that is missing from most modern whiskies, but we couldn't put our finger on what that came from nor why that quality didn't exist anymore. It was like a heavier maltiness that, according to @kvass1970, one tasted in older bottlings that is not present in the single malts of today.

So I picked up a bottle of Glen Garioch 12 Year Old. This was bottled before the more modern redesign, so it is a taller bottle, more old-fashioned looking.

Located in Oldmeldrum in Aberdeenshire, Glen Garioch is a very old distillery, founded in 1798! Believe it or not, their first single malt wasn't bottled until 1972. Prior to that, everything went into blends, and the distillery went through ups and downs, idle periods and changes in ownership. It is currently owned by Morrison Bowmore and is enjoying some new attention, thanks to it's attractive packaging and the praise heaped upon it's new Founder's Reserve bottling (which I have yet to try).

This Scotch is a coppery golden colour, with a nose of malt, raisin bread, pear, a hint of chocolate, and a wee bit of smoke. Overall, creme brulee. Quite nice.

The first thing I detect on the palate is under-ripe green banana. Some toffee. Quite a creamy mouthfeel. Beneath all of that, an undercurrent of sweet malted barley. A drop of water brings out the nose and palate but not in a huge way. And you know what? There is some of that old-fashioned, heavy maltiness that we detected in the older Glen Garioch miniature - but not quite as much. So clearly that is part of the house style - and I wonder if that element is present in the newer bottlings.

The finish is sweet caramel, long, quite delicious! Very nice everyday dram - as mentioned, it has a somewhat old fashioned feel, like it's your grandfather's Scotch!


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