I picked this up after reading a few good reviews. A 12yo at 48%, NCF and natural color? We're already off to a good start.
Neat in a Glencairn.
Nose: A fresh, fruity nose that gives pleasant notes of banana, honey, vanilla, pear, and apple. This then gives way to a cereal note. A second whiff really makes the honey and vanilla seem more pronounced than the fruit. Longer in the glass, the fruit notes get a tad darker (red apple, blackberry), and the honey a little richer. It's a Speyside nose to be sure. Fruity and fresh.
Palate: All the familiar notes are there. The apple, the pear, the berries, the vanilla, the honey. What you would expect from a 12 year old entry level Speyside whisky. They're just better. They're deeper, more rounded, more distinguished, more fulfilling. I'm sure many of us have said, "Wow this is a nice whisky, but instead of 40%, this would be great at (insert abv)." Well, here we are. And yes, it's better.
Finish: Honey, vanilla and fruit finish things off.
Overall: Every single distiller should scrap their watery thin 40%/43% chill-filtered entry level 12yo whiskies and do this. Serious props to Glenlivet. I even found this for cheaper than their regular 12yo. THIS should be the standard for 12 year old, entry level whisky. I'll keep this on my shelf as long as they keep it on store shelves at a reasonable price.