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Glenlivet 12 Year Old

Bitter-sweet disappointment...

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TReview by @Toastbongo

15th Nov 2011


Glenlivet 12 Year Old
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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As a young whisky-drinker I always keep my eyes open for bargains at supermarkets, so when I picked up a bottle of Glenlivet 12 for £18 I thought I was in for the deal of the year. After impatiently waiting till after dinner, I parked myself in front of the fire, grabbed my nicest tumbler and my bottle of Glenlivet.

Nose: On pouring out the first dram I felt that my hopes had been exceeded. Whilst I generally prefer a bit of Islay peat-and-salt in my whisky, I've always liked a nice Speysider and this seemed to be the real deal. The nose was almost a blast of fuitiness: Spiced pear, cinnamon, vanilla and a dollop of marzipan on the end. It smelt divine.

Palate: Oh. Oh dear. What a huge disappointment. After all the promise of that huge nose (maybe I just had a lucky bottle for the nose?) the palate was a huge let-down. It was harsh, the fruitiness and spices were muted and my overriding sensation was one of burning. I added a teaspoon of water and that really killed it. Nothing coming out here. I left the bottle, neglected, for a month or three and tried again with the same results.

Finish: Frankly, the palate was so harsh and unpleasant that I didn't want a finish. I don't remember anything special coming from it at any rate!

Summary: A sad ending for a potentially great whisky. Perhaps I had a dodgy bottle, perhaps not. I'll give it another go sometime in the future, but I'm not rushing to it. I've since been given Glenlivet 15, so sometime I'll compare the two...

Related Glenlivet reviews


coenleeuwen commented

I had exactly the same when I tasted it the 2nd time.

12 years ago 0

Toastbongo commented

Glad I'm not alone. Sad that such a 'big name' whisky could be such a disappointment though. You'd think they'd make a better effort to preserve their image? Glenfiddich Caoran Reserve blows this out of the water for about £3 more a bottle and a Balvenie Doublewood is vastly superior.

12 years ago 0

jwise commented

The 15yr French Oak is the only Glenlivet I'll drink. I can't stand the 12yr.

12 years ago 0

Toastbongo commented

@jwise I'm glad the 15 is better - I've been a little apprehensive about opening it after the disappointment of the 12...

12 years ago 0

ryanthesculptor commented

This was my first single malt purchase after buying some Johnnie Walker Black to start my collection. I sat in my car and stared at the beautiful tan box and read everything written on it as if it were the bible. I thought I had really stepped up to the big leagues and eagerly anticipated the nirvana that was sure to come, seeing as single malt scotch is the greatest thing ever. WOW! What a colossal let down! Sure it is good enough to drink neat but the flavor was very basic to me and I have found less expensive blends much better. I will never buy this bottle again.

12 years ago 0

Toastbongo commented

@ryanthesculptor I had quite a similar experience. Just goes to show that you simply can't rely on the marketing blurb on whisky boxes! If it's a great whisky then the box is a bonus, but don't buy something only on the box. Lesson learnt.

12 years ago 0

RoysterBSippin commented

I was not too impressed with this Scotch back when I first tried it many years ago and I still do not believe it to be worth the cost. It's just not for me. It reminds me a little of the McClleland-Speyside but with a weaker mouth feel, nose, and an unpleasant 'bitter' after finish. In all repects I would buy the McClleland-Speyside. Better price and usualy a better whiskey. Now the 15yr, 16yr Natural, and 18yr are by far so much better! Those I was really impressed with. In defence of this whiskey; their are alot of people out there who love this dram and if it 'aint broke then why try to fix it. Not everyone has the same tastes.

11 years ago 0