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Glenlivet 12 Year Old

Average score from 45 reviews and 255 ratings 77

Glenlivet 12 Year Old

Product details

  • Brand: Glenlivet
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 40.0%

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@Nozinan
Glenlivet 12 Year Old

Not much to say about this particular expression. Back in my early Scotch days I used to work short stints in Sault St Marie (home to the best Pizza in Canada if not the world), and given that all my expenses (except food) were covered, I used to allow myself the “luxury” of using the Air Canada lounge (in those days there was no free wifi at the airport).

The two scotches on offer were JW Black and Glenlivet 12. I found the 12 to be drinkable and tasty. The novelty wore off however. The flight isn’t long so you can’t drink a lot before and still rent a car, and on later trips I timed it so I could get there just before I had to board, and spend more time with my kids before I left.

But I remembered the Livet 12 favourably, so when a friend of mine brought me a 375 cc bottle that a friend was trying to get rid of, I accepted it. I opened it in December 2014, for a friend of my wife who wanted to learn a bit about Scotch. It’s a good entry malt. Tastes ok without blowing someone away.

In 2015 @nosebleed’s family came to Ontario and we drove to Quebec on a road trip. His wife wanted the bottle to hold cooking oil, so I decanted it into a 240 cc bottle, which remains 3/4 full (and gassed) since the last time it was open, September 9, 2018 (for a friend of the family).

This expression, reviewed in a standard Glencairn, is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.


Nose: 21/25

Green apples, very fruity. Slightly spirity. Light fruit syrup. Stewed apples. Nice nose. Water brings out the apple a little, makes it warmer. (21.5/25)

Taste: 20/25

Slightly bitter arrival. Spirity. A little thin. Some fruit in the development. Not very complex. Better after a few sips. Water brings the fruit more forward, makes it sweeter. (21/25)

Finish: 21/25

Fairly short. Some tannins and a little apple.

Balance: 20/25

The nose promises more than the palate delivers. Much better with water. (21/25)

Score: Neat - 82/100 With Water: 84.5/100


This is not bad. But it’s not spectacular. If offered at a party I would be inclined to accept. With a few drops of water, of course.

Definitely one to use to bring new people into the fold.

@Megawatt

Nose: subtle. Malty-sweet with orchard fruit and hints of oak. Gentle and well-balanced.

Taste: No complaints here. Light- to medium-bodied with moderate sweetness developing into oaky dryness, with the lightest touch of smoke.

Finish: Unspectacular and easy-going. Lightly smoked and rather short.

Balance: this easy-drinking malt might be too light for some but it finds balance between fruity sweetness and oaky dryness. A classic Speysider that often gets overlooked due to its wide availability.

a fine intro single malt

@Victor I can thik of a few Ontarians who would like nothing better than to bring a few of those older Mac 12s back into the Commonwealth...

@BigJoe

Yes it is another Glenlivet 12 review! and maybe there is no need for me to write anything given the Glenlivet 12 is already well covered and widely sampled. However, I did want to try it along with the new Glenlivet Founder's Reserve to draw my own conclusion about the new offering. The 12 was the obvious comparison given the identical shelf price and withdrawal from some markets.

Here it is-

Poured neat without any water added.

Nose: The notes are reserved, I get barley, antique wood, wet varnish, and the almost expected fruit notes of pear, melon, and ripe pineapple. There is some vanilla which becomes more pronounced after a few minutes.

Palate: Silky and light, with citrus, lemon grass, baking spices, and some vanilla all backed with oak wood.

Finish: Medium length finish with spicy citrus moving fairly quickly to a slight bitterness with roasted nuts and a gentle tannin.

In conclusion the Glenlivet 12 is a gentle and inoffensive drop. It is typically Speyside, a fruity single malt and it is nice enough without being anything special. A nice summer or early evening whisky.

In my opinion compared with the Glenlivet Founder's Reserve they have a similar flavour profile, the Glenlivet 12 is a little dull but has more complexity to offer than the Founder's Reserve. I will touch on this again in the next review.

Let me know your thoughts

@hunggar

Glenlivet’s expressions can be hit or miss, but I am a fan of their house style, which typically involves a pineapple note and some well-integrated baking spices. Interestingly this 12 year old sitting in front of me is perhaps THE biggest single malt in Pernod-Ricard’s portfolio. Glenlivet 12 often finds itself neck and neck with Glenfiddich 12 as the most consumed single malt in the world. But does quality lose priority to quantity when you’re producing such a massive amount of whisky? Spoiler alert; yes.

Nose: The signature Glenlivet pineapple note is here, as are apples, pears, caramel, cinnamon, brown sugar, and malt. It’s inviting enough.

Palate: Light mouthfeel, with a roasted quality to the flavours. As expected, apples, pears, pineapples, nuts, caramel, baking spices, a pinch of salt, and some honey.

Finish: Roasted… no, burnt nuts, pineapple, canned fruit salad, apple-cinnamon, white pepper, honey, artificial sweetener, and a nondescript floral note. The finish is short, and not particularly to my liking.

Obviously this isn't meant to be premium, so my expectations were planted firmly on the ground. It checks most of the boxes for an introductory dram, but it’s not what it could be. There are a few problems with the finish. First, there’s a burnt/charred note that seems out of place. Then there’s the artificial “canned fruit” sweetness that I don’t care for. Finally the baking spices that Glenlivet does so well lack the complexity that the older expressions boast. Ultimately this is a decent, albeit forgettable whisky.

@hunggar, This is a well written and descriptive review. Even though it has received an underwhelming score the notes you have expressed appear typically Speyside and inviting. It's been a while since I last tried the 12 and I am very tempted to go out and get a bottle to sample alongside or blindly with the Founder's Reserve that I recently purchased.

@BigJoe, I have friends who genuinely like the stuff, and consider it great value for money. I think it's drinkable, but not particularly interesting. I'm not sure how the Founder's Reserve will measure up, but I look forward to hearing about your head to head. Cheers.

f

a very well priced single malt scotch, great for beginners looking to make the transition from blend to single malt or for the experienced drinker who wants a light, smooth easy going everyday drink to sip on. a sweet speyside drink, it is light on the nose with fresh summer fruit notes, mainly grapes and pear, it is slightly spicy and smoky and given time to open up in the glass a citrus aroma begins to come out. smooth on the palate, it is very aromatic and sweet. honey and vanilla bean along with a fresh fruity note are the first to be noticed. the development is subtle and the strong smoky finish creeps up slowly but brings with it an overpowering charred oak taste that hits you right in the back of the throat. personally i find this has an excellent balance between sweet fruits and subtle smoky peat. i would definitely recommend this drink to all, but be wary if you don't like a peaty finish there are sweater whisky's out there for you.

Good review! :) I have to say that probably I would not reviewed this single malt scotch no more than 80% rating, but it is only my own opinion, because I rather prefer Islay peaty malts. I am going to review glenlivet 12 soon, I was a little bit disappointed at first, then day after day I began to observe and to discover more in its taste, it's more complex than I realized tasting my early dram. It is a good speyside single malt, although it is not my cup of tea I like to alternate strong peaty whiskies with something fresh, fruity and delicate like Glenlivet.

I'm a little surprised to see a glenlivet 12 at an 88% rating, but a judgement backed up with some interesting notes. I for one was never impressed by the 12yo, I do not think that the 12yo is a step up from the regular supermarket blends. There are probably even better blends at a lower price available.

@LordGlascarnoch

I bought this 1-litre bottle in an airport for a good price. It was not in my wishlist but when I saw its price I thought... why not?

Nose. Elegant and subtle, it brings back my memories to a mix of wet granite stone, wet grass and fern. Floral notes come just after along with citrus, apple, (sweet?) pineapple. Pleasant, though quite discrete.

Palate. Pineapple and vanilla dominate and some mineral notes also appear. Pleasant and delicate, but it lacks some strong stuff, I couldn't determine exactly what. Remembers me some delicate white wines from South West France that would have been left just too much time opened in the fridge.

Finish. Medium and pleasant, with refreshing anise and eucalyptus counterbalancing a tough sensation of pure alcohol. Eventually, some cinnamon makes the finish rounder and enjoyable.

This whisky is worth trying as an initiation to malt tasting, because it provides an easy approach to some complexity and elegance without excess. Its age might explain the lack of something stronger.

I totally agree! Its got all the different flavors expected of a single malt, but very subtle. I guess I could say that it's right in between the single malts that we like, and the blends that we are trying to forget. Great review!!

Thank you vrudy6!

@DutchGaelisch

This one was the 'house' whisky in my favorite pub 15 years ago. It got me triggered to try and taste more different bottles of whisky. The right bottle to start with for my first review on Connosr.

It's well priced, € 22,- for a bottle 0,7. The colour: medium light gold. The nose: sweet, honey, vanilla, chocolate and some fruit. Taste: light barley, fresh/sweet, then dry with a simple quick finish. A good everyday easy going whisky, perfect when you're not in the mood for complexity.

@Magnus

I must start with the fact that I quite admire the Speysiders ("Glenfarclas"-es being the favorites for me), but since I have owned a Glenlivet 18 y.o. recently and enjoyed it, I thought I should try their entry level malt. So when I came across a good discount for a bottle of Glenlivet 12 Year Old at a local retailer I quickly snatched the opportunity and bought one. I have expected a light dram, maybe on the sweeter side, a good value for money. Little did I know.

Nose: sweet, nothing really complex, but this is the youngest member of this family, so it is expected. Fair amount of apples on the nose. Sweet malt. A distant banana. Some bread dough with good yeast. Somewhat reminiscent of Cardhu 12 y.o., although not that sweet on the nose, as the latter. Then spirit jumps forward to steal the sweetness and fails, thank God.

Palate: So thin, disappointingly thin! Very light-bodied, even watery on the front areas of the mouth. Is this a Speysider at all?! No initial burn as well. After a few seconds, at the back areas of the mouth and palate a feeling of more apples, apple pie and cinnamon bursts, but not too strong. Some honey, but combined with a troublesome bitter note. Some fresh bread dough maybe? Even given that, not at all complex palate, no surprises, no hits whatsoever. Alcoholic taste everpresent, competing and eventually conquering the faint fruit and honey hints. A hard burn at the end, which is good. In general I found the palate unbalanced and somewhat disappointing, really. And then, suddenly...

Finish: Here is where the suprise kicked in! A thick, almost chewy wild honey (that hasn't been on the palate during sipping) aftertaste, that lasts for ages and saves the day. Nothing other than that, just that, but it suffices. One is left wondering, where did it came from, since one only felt it very weakly during the sipping. A mistery!

I was initially going to bash this dram even more and rate it in the upper sixties/lower seventies. I was going to compare it to an anorexic model with a bad morning breath. Now I think I would actually recommend this entry level single malt to anyone, who needs a change or simply a good lightweight Speyside dram. I personally will abstain for buying another bottle of this malt for quite a while though and stick with the other Speysiders, like Longmorn 15 and the Glenfarclases for the time being.

Thanks for the comment, @teebone673. I will definitely follow your advice about the Glenlivet 15 year old French Oak Reseve. Here in Bulgaria it is very reasonably priced: around 32 EUR. So I will and I will surely review it afterwards. You have mentioned the Glenlivet 18 year old. Although magnificent (even the color is a killer beauty), this expression was a little bit overrefined for my taste, just like an old rich noble gentleman, but may be I was expecting too much, given its' price tag (still not expensive for a top-notch 18 year old single malt). I will review the Glenlivet 18 as well for sure, but I will need to give the second bottle, lingering in my cabinet, a chance, in order to do so. Beforehand I will buy the 15 year old expression and surely review it. I actually have a soft spot for 15-16 year old expressions - they tend to be my choice (Longmorn 15, Glenfarclas 15, Glenfiddich 15 Solera etc.) I do not know why as of yet.

What do you like the most about the Glenlivet 15 and how would you compare it to the Glenlivet 18? :)

Thanks for the review. Huge Glenlivet fan myself. Try the 15 year old French Oak Reserve next. That's probably my most underrated dram. I'm a huge fan of the 18 as well. Then there's the amazing 21 year old Archive. Let me know what you try.

@vrudy6

On vacation here in Orlando Florida, and I had no choice but to order Glenlivet 12. Like in most bars, this and Glenfiddich were the only single malts available. And To be honest, I can't stand Glenfiddich. Bottled at 40%, it's very approachable. It's delicate and rounded. First, I get a sweet maltiness that's quiet pleasant, followed by measured deliveries of caramel, apples, pears and traces of honey and hay. Then, a minute puff of smoke almost untraceable. But, it all comes together rounded, in great precision. I also found it deceiving oily.

I've had this many times, especially in the 50ml little bottles, and I never remembered it being this soft and pleasant. I guess it's been open for a while and it's been pounded by oxidation. No wonder it's the number selling single malt; it's a very safe whisky to drink. Nothing overwhelming.

I went to the Glenlivet website and in their whisky process they mention that during their distillation they only keep the heart of the whisky and that the head and tail of the distillation process its recycled. What do they mean by recycled? recycled into what? Can someone share some light?

@vanPelt

Reviews of the ubiquitous Glenlivet 12 can benchmark a given reviewer's palate. In my case, note that I postponed sampling to the most appropriate location: an Airbus 330.

The setting is perfect, of course. Trans-Atlantic flights always have a way of setting the mood. You don't have to worry whether you'll crave relaxation, since the airport procedures and queuing masses have taken care of your mood. You aren't even for lack of company, if your neighbor has exhibited such communal sense of space. The aromas (tin-foil wrapped leftovers, melted polyethylene cheese, and mayonnaise) have already established a truly contrasting background, prime for nosing the spirit so you can appreciate it all the more. If you want to feel the fresh winds of the Highlands, you just open the valve above your head, for a diluting whiff of filtered aerosol.

The attendant hands you a translucent disposable cup, along with a sterile napkin and of course the tiny bottle of Scottish delight. The cup is an enormous 25cl well, which is fantastic for sticking your nose in to the very bottom; and its thin material bends enough so you can practically feel your whisky.

The attendant asks whether you "want ice with that". Which is sweet, really. "Are you sure?" And her expression is maybe only half-critical when you decline. You lift the bottle (which already feels stratosphere-frozen in your palm, even without the offered ice) and empty its contents into the absorbent vessel, which is translucent and cloudy enough to appear well-frosted. A red-eye flight unfortunately means no sunlight to assess just how pale this malt is; but luckily the LCD screen in front of you gives a scientifically controlled background: blue, you conclude. Yes, this whisky must be blue.

You dunk your nose in for a first aroma of BPA, and note that this experience is authentic, if nothing else. Nose withdrawn, you give some vigorous swirls to smother the inner plastic surface, as you warm it with your palm. You push your face in to smell again, but it's still too faint... so you repeat the procedure. And by now your fellow passengers are surely wondering what to make of this ritual.

Oh well, you get the picture. Here's my review:

Nose: Light fruits, of course. I get grape flesh and fresh almond slivers, at first. Accenting this freshness is something plant-like/leafy or even "piney", like dried pineapple. There's also an impression of yellow apple and butter. (Lesser influences of vanilla, butterscotch, toasted coconut, and rose.)

Palate: A butter-smooth entrance welcomes... but quickly transforms to sour white peach, rather gingery. Then to tannic, purple grape skins and something menthol-y, like pine.

Finish: Butter and yellow apples emerge, rescuing the prickly palate. But the youth can't hide, and the finish closes with pine and powdered ginger. Vanilla/underripe peach lightly occupy the background.


The Glenlivet 12 is light and nondescript. It is not objectionable, and just served a good purpose: improving my flight by giving me something interesting (though not thrilling) to focus on for a short while. There is quite an atmosphere to overcome, and it does so suitably. I am therefore grateful for its availability. I could even like to try it back on ground.

Nevertheless, I would probably not add a bottle to my lower-altitude cabinet; the Glenlivet 18yo is a richer and more rewarding version, for example. (And the 25yo, which I just reviewed, is wonderful-- though pricey.)

The closest similar malt that I could recall is the Auchentoshan Classic, particularly in the palate. The Glenlivet 12 is better however, with less drying sour white peach. For other similar budget light malts that you might even prefer, look to the Macallan Gold, Auchentoshan Select or Arran Original.

Well this cheered me up! Thanks guys, almost enough to pull me back in. Yeah, I'm usually disappointed about the level of interaction, but this was one of those reviews where I thought "well at least I had fun writing it, even if no one else apparently saw it!" By the way, setting the scene was a lot easier than it might seem, because I didn't have to make anything up...

That was a great review to read. You set the scene almost too well.

Joe

@Volks

What many describe as a beginners malt, a simple malt, an uncomplicated malt. This 12 year old expression is often reccomended for the novice who is looking to get their bearings. I wasn't expecting alot from this malt based on other Livets ive tried. But heres what i got.

  • Nose: nice, peaches, caramelised pears, sweet wine, toffee, touch of banana, more than a touch of vanilla, some crème brulee too. With water more vanilla and brulee, some floral notes as well, peaches still there.

  • Pallet: little fizz of sherbet, other than that, similar to the nose, but vanilla comes through first, then slightly buttery toffee, fruit flavours some icing sugar and some floury-ness as well, hmm interesting. With water malt spice initially, then continues as before. More interesting.

  • Finish: light, vanilla cream is prevalent, little bit of floral as well, delicate and light but it’s nice, it’s nice. With water the spice provides nice bite I think there is some white pepper there, floral is still around but less vanilla, it’s still a gentle finish but very pleasant.

  • Mark neat – 8.1, with water 8.3

This is a very nice whisky, very approachable and smooth. But its not just a beginners whisky, i think this is a lighter style of malt which offers good complexity and overall quality.

I was happily surprised too, great way to start things off at a tasting. Sets the standard

p

Great classic highland character. Fruit, nice oak aroma, the correct strength.

I've had more than my fair share of drams of Glenlivet 12.. I know it's one of the best selling on the market.... It's just way too medicinal for me... I've never really been a fan of Highland malts anyway...

@Nock

Honestly, I am not trying to bash Glenlivet. I am just trying to give my thoughts on this dram (and to give anyone interested a sense of my flavor profile). I would keep a bottle around if the price was more in range with what I consider are its peers.

Nose: Fresh sharp green sour apples followed by grass and lemon. Apples really dominate here. With time more fruits come out: pineapple, pear, and grapes. Now I’m picking up on the caramel. Can’t tell if it is a caramel e150a or just the kind that flattens out scotch.

Taste: Citrus and apples. Now a flattening of the taste – my guess is the caramel.

Finish: Sharp ending with little wave or crest. It is hot with hints of apple wood, oak and hints of smoke.

Balance, Complexity: Not very complex unless you count apples. Very unbalanced with the caramel flattening out so much on the palate.

Color, Body, Aesthetic experience: Nice golden amber. Medium to medium-light bodied. I like the bottle and label a lot. Wish the whisky was better.

Conclusion: I have tried this a few times over the years. Had a half full bottle give to me recently my the in-laws. My guess is that it has been open and half full for over 8 years. I put it side by side with a 50mL sample bottle . . . almost the exact same score. It really is all about the same wit this one.

@GBrough

Tonight was my Great Uncles 60th and as a celebration the family rented a hall. At this hall they had glenlivet 12 year and chivas regal 12 now seeing that i am a single malt kind of guy i ordered the glenlivet 12 year. Nose: Vanilla, Apples, some cinnamon easy to smell and fun. Palate: Vanilla, apples, cinnamon, and a dash of pepper. Finish: Apples, cinnamon, some pepper very smooth.

Good for an easy night, good enough for me on the rocks. I recommend it for a person first single malt scotch. I noticed by inhaling in while it was in my mouth i got granny smith apples.

@GBrough, if you want to try sherried malt for the first time, try Glenfarclas...15, 105, 12, 17, 21, 40, Family Casks, any one of them. Glenfarclas is classic, has beautiful clean sherry, and almost everything they make is good or much better than good. The other route I would suggest would be Aberlour A'bunadh. A'bunadh is great Scotch, but don't expect other sherried malts to be much like Aberlour A'bunadh. A'bunadh is its own unique animal, each and every batch of it.

Lasanta definitely has fans around Connosr. I am not one of them. What's wrong with it? Many, including Jim Murray, who gave it a score of 68.5 pts this year, would answer with one word, "Sulphur". I have never liked Lasanta, and don't expect to ever buy a bottle of it, unless it changes a great deal.

I have heard a lot of good about it, but after my taste of finlaggan a better quality islay is in order. I think lagavulin 16 first it is at costco right now and i want to take advantage of the deal but once i get my islay bottle i will be off to quinta ruban and the good flavours it bring.s

@talexander

After a fantastic vacation with my daughter in Vancouver, I came back home to...being sick. It has not been pleasant but now that I'm on the mend, I thought I would get back into the writing with something simple, basic, not too complicated. It doesn't really get easier than this one.

Although the Glenlivet distillery has been around since time immemorial ("the single malt that started it all" was licensed in 1824, but was well active before then), the 12 year old was not introduced until 1933, after Prohibition ended (before that, it had no age statement). It was heavily promoted in the US, which remains the #1 market for the malt. As you might guess from the flavour profile, 99% of the spirit is matured in ex-bourbon casks, the remaining 1% in ex-sherry casks.

The colour is a marigold yellow, with golden highlights. On the nose, lightly floral (with a bit of lavender, which is not my favourite) and fruity (pineapple, mandarin orange), with an underpinning of barley sugar. The barest hint of oak. Simple and straightforward, not complex but classically Speyside. A drop of water doesn't seem to do much.

On the palate, a bit more caramel and vanilla, a wee bit spicy with some cinnamon. You get baked apples this time around. A nice, creamy mouth-feel, which is improved with a drop of water.

On the finish - not so great. A little rough, not as smooth as you would think given how gentle the other elements of the malt are. Toffee and more vanilla, perhaps even the faintest hint of sulphur, and some pepper at the end. Though it seems to have more body to it than I remember (Dave Broom agrees, writing that they have improved their wood policy), there are no surprises here. The 2nd best-selling malt in the world is some distance away from the leading Glenfiddich 12, but still remains a good introductory malt for those starting their exploration, as I did - I remember this being one of the first Scotches I've ever tried.

@MisterDigger

After being very disappointed with this one's main competition Glenfiddich 12, I was hesitant to try it. While waiting for the doors to open at a casino concert a few days ago, I spotted this one at the bar amongst all of the blends. I ordered a glass and was somewhat surprised. It tasted more like a good Chenin Blanc than a Speyside Single Malt. So far, this has to be the most inoffensive single malt that I tried. However, after a few sips, it can get quite bland. The smoke flavor was basically not present. I would call this as "Single Malt for white wine lovers", which is not really a bad thing. But if I want white wine, I will order it. If I want scotch with more excitement, I will order something else. It is still way better than most blends. It is a good one to suggest for the ladies and very affordable.

One of my first that I tried outside the home. This is the single malt offered in air Canada's maple leaf lounge....now I know why.

It tastes good with a drop of water, it's cheap for the company, most people like it

Scotchguy74: I can't pinpoint what my difference was except that Glenlivet 12 did taste like a very goo white wine (and I love champagne as well), whereas Glenfiddich 12 offered me nothing. I did have a whole bottle of Glenfiddich 12 over several weeks, but only one drink of Glenlivet 12 at a bar. Interesting how I rated Glenfiddich 12 higher than you, but actually liked it less. My first review of Glenkinchie 12 explains my unique rating process, which includes cost.

@Rantavahti

The Glenlivet 12 year old is a smooth and fruitful dram with a stingy and heavy kick at the end. The kind a usually detest. Glenlivet 12 somehow manages to deliver itself in a way that suits me. Maybe it's the oak and honey that manage to settle it down. Glenlivet 12 isn't dry either, which helps me to take the finishing kick much easily.

Glenlivet 12 is one of the fresh ones out there. Even though I didn't like Pineapple Express that much, I like what Seth Rogen and Co have given to the movie business. They bring fresh ways of interpreting the script and improvising in a realistic way.

Pineapple Express also sums up very well one of the key ingredients of the Glenlivet 12 year old.

Nose: Like taking a whiff from sweet summer fragrances. Fruity with sweet creamy vanilla and toffee and hints of oak.

Taste: Tropically fruity with a touch of vanilla. Very smooth with notes of pineapple rising to the cream of the crop.

Finish: This is where the smoothness steps aside and the dram gets interesting. Kicks you nicely in the back of your throat. Though it's a heavy kick, it's not so long in lasting. Has oak and nuts with fruity notes.

Balance: Creamy thick and warm, well balanced with a lasting finish. A very versatile in it's kind.

@bvburnes

As a fan of Speyside Single Malts, I was a bit surprised and a bit disappointed by the over-all experience of the Glenlivet 12.

On the nose, cinnamon, apple, and spices were all buried under an overwhelming vanilla aroma. A bit of water brought some balance here.

The palate was tannic and very oaky with a curious hint of sour. This curious sour kind of led into a pronounced bitter after-taste on the very short finish.

This dram seemed harsh and astringent. Not my favorite from the region.

@tjb

I was delighted to find the box was sturdy with a quality feel and the bottle was carefully wrapped in waxed paper. A nice touch before the seal on the bottle is broken.

This dram has a rich fruity nose with sweet apples and a hint of vanilla. The sweetness is inviting. Upon pouring the invitation to taste becomes stronger as the pale golden straw coloured liquid fills your glass and your senses.

Upon first sip there is a bite and the sweetness whilst still present is more mellow and not as strong as its first promise. What follows is a fruity wave of apple and a hint of pear. There is a smokey caramel which underlies a spicy peel finishing with oak and hazelnut. The cinnamon and peel flavour with the finish gives it an ever so slightly Christmassy feel.

Overall a very pleasant and satisfying drop which is good value and worth a try.

@valuewhisky

Review is from a 50 mL miniature I purchased. Since I can't order miniatures from the UK anymore, I splurged and purchased all TWO malt minis available in Pennsylvania (had The Macallan 12 yesterday). I've had The Glenlivet 12 on a couple occasions, as well as some other 'Livets (I'm a big fan of Nadurra).

Nose: This has a lively nose (a good thing!). Candied pineapple, ginger, banana, pear. Fruity! Some fresh oak as well (as opposed to charred oak). Very pleasant. Despite offering up several notes, it doesn't strike me as "complex" since I'm not really drawn back in to try and figure it out. I get it. It's nice, but I get it.

Palate: A little on the watery side for my liking. A bit of oak, some zippy ginger, and a generic fruity sweetness. All pleasant, nothing outstanding.

Finish: Some bitterness/sourness creeps in and dominates the extended finish (everything else goes away quickly).

Overall: Eh. I wouldn't turn down a dram. I'll pass on having a bottle in my cabinet, though. Pretty basic, nothing to get excited about. To think that this is basically the same price as something like Highland Park 12 or Laphroaig 10... what you could be having!

Interesting: after this review I noticed that there is some brown discoloration (mold!?) in the little wax-paper disk thing in the cap of the miniature bottle. Did this taint my whisky somehow? I do remember Glenlivet 12 being A LITTLE better than this.

I agree with your analysis. It is nice but won't win awards. I think in terms of price in the UK it is set lower than Laphroaig 10 by about 25%. I picked up a bottle last week and for the money was pleasantly surprised. "Pleasant, nothing outstanding"... I agree but i'm still glad I tried it as the more I try the more discerning I become.

@cheeserandyburg

Had this one in the cabinet for a few months and decided to give it a crack this evening since its not the priciest of the bunch and quite easy to acquire.

Colour - Medium/Light gold.

Legs - Slow, thin.

Nose - Sweet, honey, vanilla, syrupy chocolate. Yes thats right, all in one! Loads of chocolate. Its as if someone dipped a chocolate bar in this one. Quite a lot of floral notes going on. Fruity at the front (apples), sweet in the back. Pleasant nose. No smoke and a hint of citrus (oranges) shying around and about.

Palate - Thin at first and somewhat dry, then it opens up to a little sweetness, then more sweetness...but then, nothing. The nose doesn't make an appearance here, which is quite a shame. Unfortunately it just ends, which brings us to the finish.

Finish - Fast, dry, simple and abrupt. Not much happening here. This isn't a bad thing since the experience was pleasant, but all too quick to go on by. But that's ok, I'll just have another :)

Conclusion - A fun, simple any time of the day whisky. Don't expect to find an amusement park of complexity in here, but instead a delicate, sweet and dry enjoyable dram. Luckily this ones on sale for about $43 (down from $47) at the moment which begs the question whether I should grab another bottle or just save that $ for a bottle of Aberlour 10.

Nice review. I'd personnally go with the Aberlour 10 next, but that's just me. It has a bit more complexity and character going on than the Glenlivet 12, along with being nicely balanced. The mothfeel is also better: Glenlivet drinks a lot like some blends, in my opinion, in that it ends so abruptly after the sip and then you get a whole lot of vague nothingness in the finish...

Another good entry level malt is The Arran 10, especially if you like subtle fruity (orchard) notes in your whisky.

@GotOak91

Acquired this because I wanted to see what it would have been like if I had started my scotch experience with one of the most popular "beginner scotch." I had found a 375ml bottle for an easy $20. Review as follows:

Nose: With a little time in the glass I detected apples (Sour Granny Smith apples) and a little bit of hay. Kind of simple and straight forward nothing much to hide.

Body: Medium weight and a little rough for 12 years in a barrel.

Taste: It has a little bit of a burn for an 80 proof whisky. Again the notorious green apples are apart of the initial taste among with what I believe are citrus fruits. With a little bit of deciphering I had found some sweet malt hiding in the predominately fruity taste.

Finish: Medium lasting finish with spicy pepper and cinnamon on the tail end. Quite warming for an 80 proof whisky.

Overall: Im glad I started with an older whisky (Glenfiddich 18) than this one. Giving what I know now I found this whisky to be too simple and dominated with green apple flavor maybe with the lack information I know now this would have been an interesting start but I might have stopped investigating the world that is Single Malt Scotch.

@PMessinger

For a longtime standard this one left me wanting, Short finish uneventful after taste can not save the good qualities of this standard bearer.

S

My first single malt and I wasn't disappointed... What sweet flavours and lovely hints of smoke and caramel.... Love this drop, just hits the spot for me esp for the price. Can't wait to try the 15 yo an 18 if I get a promotion !!!

I had the opportunity to visit the Glenlivet distillery in May, where we tried the 12, 15, Nadurra, 18, 21 and XXV - my favourite was the 15! I'd be curious to know what you think.

B

My first review and still fairly new at Single Malts and the like.

Nose: Apples is the first thing that comes to the nose. A warm aroma of pear as well with a second sniff.

Palate: At first sip an instant of sweetness followed by a slight bitterness (not overwhelming). I also get the flavor of smokey apples and an oakyness. If I would to give it a one word description; Fruity.

Finish: Warm, sweet-oak, smooth

Overall: Not a bad choice for less than $45.

Excellent review I was planning on trying this as my first single malt and few others by buying samples thanks

Thank you...My first Single Malt that turned me on the Scotch was the Aberlour 16yo Double Cask...Look forward to hearing more about your adventure in Scotch. Cheers!

j

Drank neat with a glass of water on the side. Floral nose with vanilla and a slight hint of apples. I disagree with some of the comments I've seen here comparing the nose to soap and cleaning supplies. I noticed a slight burn going down, so the alcohol flavor is prevalent, but not too overwhelming. I tasted pears, apples again, and oak. It had a nice spiciness and a nutty finish which I liked. Although there wasn't anything spectacular to note, this is still a solid single malt Scotch and is something I could come back to given its widespread availability and low price point.

@SquidgyAsh

I picked up my bottle at the same time as I picked up my bottle of Macallan Fine Oak 12 yr old. I pick up a bottle or two every payday and this time I'd promised my lovely wife a couple of bottles of Speysides as these tend to be her favorite whiskies.

The Macallan Fine Oak 12 yr old instantly became one of my favorite whiskies out there, but sadly the same could not said for the Glenlivet 12 yr old.

The day after I tasted the Macallan I decided to crack open the bottle of Glenlivet to see how they compared.

The smell that hit me from across the room as I set up the glencairns was apple juice. Strong apple juice with a bite. After I poured myself a dram I put it up to my nose the apple juice hit my nose hard. In the background was oak, cinnamon and a couple hints of flowers, but nothing I could put my finger on.

As I take a sip the flavor of alcohol hits my tongue, very strong for just 40% ABV. I taste apples again, a bit of oak, a hint of vanilla and cinnamon. But sadly for me the alcohol flavor overrides most of the other flavors.

The finish is fiarly short especially compared to some other malts with the oak dominating with some spices in the background.

This IS an intro malt. For $50 bucks AUS it's not bad, but nor is it great. I'd rather spend a few more bucks in order to get a more complex flavorful single malt like the Talisker 10 yr old or if you're looking for something fruity the Macallan Fine Oak 12 yr old.

Do I regret buying it? Nope. Will I buy another bottle when I finish this one? I doubt it. Each whisky is a new experience, but don't look for anything world shattering in this bottle.

Nice, an accurate review pretty consistent with my experience too. It IS an entry level malt. Earth shattering it is not. It might possibly not be as good as it used to be today, I will have to compare a recent bottling to my "old" bottle I reviewed a while ago.

You may find that it opens up with time in the glass. Try it in two weeks' time and at four weeks and spend at least 30 minutes with it. You may see an improvement (or you may not)!

Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't pay $50 for a bottle presently. I've seen it in the low $40's on special every now and again, at that price, I may consider it, but only if I want a palette refresher of my "reference malt". If I were after a sipping malt whisky in that price range I'd go the Monkey Shoulder any day.

Thanks guys for the nice comments!

I always do a review after having tried the whisky a couple of times and I always need a dram in front of me just in case I think I might miss something. With a partially blocked nose today I opened the bottle and the smell of apple juice punched me in the face from across the room. It seems to be a major theme in the Glenlivet 12 yr old.

@Systemdown for myself at this time if I need a sipping whisky in the range where I'd be willing to pick up another bottle I'd stick with a bottle of Blantons bourbon or if it's at that $50 dollar price tag I'll snag another bottle of Aberlour which was quite enjoyable. I haven't tried Monkey Shoulder yet. Sounds interesting!! Btw my friend I plugged your blog in my review of Macallan Fine Oak 12 yr old. I hope you don't mind, but I thought you made some very good points in your Talisker 10 yr old review.

@Fulano

. I am actually extremely new to scotch whisky single malt. My 1st scotch was a blend; The Dimple, Pinch. A scotch blend that I do not recommend. Sharp and quickly ending in taste. I then went with a reference from a friend to try Glenmorangie 10 yr which intrigued me. Curious. Hmmm. Ok so quickly shelfed that and picked up a Glenlivet 12 year. Wow. Now that was delicious. Although my cherry was already popped, I now fell in love. Before ending that relationship, days later, I cheated on her at a local Pub that served fine scotch whisky. The little homewrecker was a sweet but bitter little ladie by the name of Balvenie, yes The Balvenie 12 year double wood. And wow was she gracious, I instantly was admired, and had hoped to enjoy a movie with her, home, over a warm fireplace. So I pursued my heart the next day in hopes to rendezvous with her in my local wines n spirit shop. She didn't show up, but left me with her much older relative; Portwood. But she indeed was no little lady. At the age of 21, staring and glaring at me through that fine can can body. So very classy. It was as she new I had to take her home... And so I did. With great eagerness we both casually strolled out and into my car. I placed her in the passenger seat and turned the ignition hearing the roar of my inline 6 BMW m3 engine purr with equal happiness. With great spirit we sprinted off to my place, parked, door opened and home at last. But not quite. I popped the top and unwrapped her fine silky paper only to see her big 21 staring right back at me. Oh sweet baby I just could not pop the cork. No. It just didn't feel right with my ol Glenlivet 12 glaring at me with her green glowing beauty settling with envy. I just couldn't do it. I quickly dressed her up, wrapped and back in the can as I reached over and grabbed my livet 12 and kissed her. Sweet baby how could I. I poured that I'll lady into her Glenlivet cup and let her sit as I twirled her about and glistened at her beauty, and then I did it. I smelled her glamour. Once and once more llike foreplay of a summer sun on a rainy day, and then I sipped and sipped like to kids in a park child's play. Mmmmm. The joy of single malt scotch simply settled then wrestled and settled again, like a brother and siter or two best friends. Thank you my friend, yes thank you. It's Glen... Enjoy..

@AboutChoice, thank you very much. A friend of mines read the review and voiced to me that it is slightly distasteful and may have even broke the reviews rules and policy of the site. If so I would definitely apologized, for I really do love this community site almost as much as I love my scotch. He advised me to keep my reviews in tandem with what other reviews are like. In so far as what favors appear at the nose, taste and finishing expressions. And yes I can do this as well, but as an amateur I must say, that I do not think my opinion of the drink per say is as valid as someone who has tasted many varieties to offer contrast in comparison. In time my reviews will change, but this time I wanted to be authentic and honest of my approach and introduction to the scotch in an entertaining or interesting way. I hope I have achieved the interesting scope of my writings in an entertaining way. And thank you for taking the time to sit and read my literature and have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Please feel free to add me to your friends list to view more of my future reviews, and I would most appreciate it...

@Micheal, thank you for that positive response. I'm now prepping my review for Dalmore cigar malt. The last review actually made my wife a little jealous, or rather over zealous. I'm taking a slightly different approach to to my reviews, although I will be including the common nose experience as well as taste, balance and finish, I will also add my complete overall feeling and experience with the spirit in a literary sence, if I may say literary, if that is even a word. Before giving anything away, I must say that it is soo far, soo good. Stay tuned for my full and sobering review of Dalmore cigar malt review followed by my favorite; Highland Park 12 year.(well, one of my top favorites along side Highland Park 18 and Glenlivet 15 year.) please add me to your friends list if you do enjoy my reviews/editorials. And once more, thank you soo much for your response and views.

@jdhowens

The Glenlivet drew my attention straight out of the box, coming swathed as it does in a delightful waxed paper, printed with the emblem and labelling of the whisky. Irrelevant to the taste, of course - there are no points for pleasing packaging - but worthy of note. For their lowest-priced single malt, they've still made an effort.

It pours a promising, very pure gold, and has a nose so strong that you'll probably get a tantalising waft well before you begin to seriously get into the glass. The scent is one of the most immediately distinctive I've encountered, greeting you with a clarion call of crisp apple. This recedes slightly into a more demure apple wood, but is certainly memorable. A very little further engagement reveals a host of similar scents. Autumn fruits are prevalent, but also a note at once reminiscent of banana and those foam sweets you get at sweet shops for a penny. The generally fruity character is accented with cinnamon and other spices, notably clove.

On the tongue, even at 40% there's quite a bite, so a little water doesn't go amiss. The initial sensation is strongly alcoholic, which clears to reveal quite a complex character for a whisky that becomes quite light on the palate. In the mouth its more mutely fruity than the nose, with the suggestion of almonds or marzipan layered beneath. Returning to nose the whisky intensifies the fruity character, but it's matured into a rich toffee with a light woodiness to it.

The finish begins, as the body had, with quite a bite - you have to be reasonably quick to pick up much of the taste of the liquid in between! The reasonably harsh initial quality fades through the now-familiar fruit notes into a lightly woody finish. You might also notice a slightly tart, berry flavour at times. The finish is surprisingly inconsistent, so go back to it a few times and you'll more than likely discover something new on each occasion. Not the top of my list, but memorable (pleasantly so - you'll be drawn back to it to check the accuracy of your recollection) and with several strongly positive features.

@GlassBottle

Nose: light and fresh, and really reminds me of apple crumble with a fresh citrus-y apple-y tang combining with oaty, malty goodness. There's also pear, a little honey, maybe aniseed and some delicate spice.

Palate: Tropical fruit, that didn't really come through on the nose, now make an appearance with juicy pineapple bursting on the palate. Some vanilla and an oaky edge. Not much depth here, and a mid-palate that is a little weak; but perfectly drinkable.

Finish: apple and almonds with ginger and crisp barley bite; just a little short.

This is a good whisky, and understandably popular; but it is a bit noncommittal and gives up too easily on the palate. Definitely not bad, but not challenging for a top spot on my favourite-drams list either.

@systemdown

Prelude:

Yes, another Glenlivet 12 review. Why, you might ask? Good question. The answer is in three parts as follows:

1) pure self-interest (more on this in a minute); 2) to see if I can't remind myself and others about the "reference" malt; 3) to compare seemingly unfavourable reviews of recent bottlings against an older bottling

I hadn't tried this in a couple of years and I thought I'd give myself a refresher. It's Australian summer at the moment and although it's been quite mild by normal standards, things will heat up again as we pass through the storm season (but without the devastating flooding of early 2011, hopefully). This happens to be a good summery malt, by all reports - a clean, fruity, malty, oaky, very approachable medium-bodied Speyside malt without so much as a whiff of peat or other "unpleasantness" for the un-initiated. It is "THE" reference malt according to many.

To expand on my selfish reason for posting this review, it's purely because it means I can revisit it any time for my own use. Usually, in my head, I attempt to calibrate all single malt tastings against my recollection of this, the Glenlivet 12 year old. In my head, this is supposed to score about 75/100 (plus or minus a few) *, so we'll see if that pans out.

This review is for a bottle date-stamped March 2006 - yes, an older bottling which is designed to be consistent with my recollection of it. Has it changed? We'll see, here goes:

Nose: Sweet honey, toffee apple, fresh and stewed apples and pears, light and fragrant, pleasant in its simplicity. With water: floral notes emerge, malt and a softer honey than before become prominent.

Taste: Sweetness hits first, exactly as the nose promised. Really surprising how sweet this is actually, I don't quite remember it that way. Malt and oak spice in the middle, marrying very well with the sweetness as to balance it out. Oak spice at the end intensifies and then mellows as held in the mouth, a great mouthfeel by the way, quite well rounded. With water: Mellows all round, didn't detect any new flavours, just subtle variation, silky smooth. Some can taste the apple in this, I can't, even with water. It's in the nose for sure, but maybe my tastebuds are defective!

Finish: Oak spice crescendos and then falls away, leaving a not unpleasant spice residue in a short-medium length finish. The underlying malt lingers a while before fading.

Balance: There really isn't much to fault here in terms of overall balance, although the only thing I might say is that the sweetness could be toned down just a smidge in the nose and on the palate. I did somehow expect some caramel to intrude in the nose or the taste, but I didn't experience that - the sweetness I got was more honeyed sweetness. Pretty good.

So there it is. My refresher in the "reference" malt that will probably see me through my entire year of tasting other malts. It was pretty close (if not a little better) than what I expected from my recollection of it in years passed. Next time I'll try a recent bottling and see if my thoughts change.

Is this a complex whisky? No. Is it a great whisky? No. Is it enjoyable? YES! A refreshing, approachable dram for any time of day. A simple but elegant whisky that really does, at least for me, epitomise what Scotch malt whisky is all about and why I love the "water of life" so much.

  • There are various 100 point systems in use for whisky tasting. Some, like me, see 75/100 as the cutoff between an average and good whisky, with "very good" starting around 80, great 85, excellent 90 and superstar 95+

Follow up @ 6 months, 2012-06-06

The six month review is not really part of my planned “time course” whisky tasting routine, but since the bottle has been sitting on my shelf for that period of time, at 5/6 level since my last tasting (3 months ago maybe?) I thought I’d see how this was progressing with oxidation.

So this whisky was opened in the height of sub-tropical Australian summer (January) and has seen a warm Autumn, and now the start of “winter” (if one can call it that with a straight face).

My theory is that whiskies tend to suffer faster in this warm, humid climate so I’m keen to know how this stock Glenlivet has fared, for a light Speysider. Onto the review:

Nose: Lovely stewed and baked apple, apple juice, honey, spiced Pimms, lime and dash of vanilla. There seems to be a sherried influence here albeit very minute - I have no idea whether this whisky contains any traces of sherried stuff but that’s an interesting development in the nose nonetheless. Worthy of an extra point I’d say!

Taste: Immediately a little sharpness on the front of the tongue, astringent even, spicy, a prickly “buzz” that seems to envelop all other flavours, but, after a while the sweetness of the malt and honey shines through to rescue the taste buds. Some grassiness also present. Still a sweet dram after 6 long months, mostly intact - certainly not “flat” or boring. But, is it still good?

Finish: Astringent again on the swallow but dissipating quickly to be followed by bold dry bitters, malt and spicy oak in a warm, slightly tart, short finish. Doesn’t disappear all at once mind you - a few pleasant dying embers of sweet warmth remain for a while.

Balance: Some good moments, particularly in the Speyside nose which doesn’t disappoint. The palate is somewhat overwhelmed however by the astringent, prickly delivery that doesn’t go away quickly enough, waiting until the very end of the mouth to dissipate sufficiently for the sweet malt and honey to replace it and “cool” off the tastebuds. I’m fairly certain that oxidation has started to play a detrimental role in this bottle. For me, the “prickly” sensation is something I’ve experienced before with a heavily oxidised whisky. This whisky, at 6 months open, has yet to fall too heavily down the degradation slope, particularly as the nose and finish would attest, this whisky still has some life in it yet.

N20 T17 F18 B18 = 73

I think it’s fair to say that oxidation has done some harm here - the nose may have held up but the taste (particularly) and finish have suffered. however, I don’t necessarily dislike this dram as it now stands - sure, it’s lost some refinement, gained a few rough edges and with it, some interesting twists and turns and manages to be an interesting and drinkable whisky. If I leave it another 6 months, it can serve as my oxidation calibrator! Okay well I’ll save a portion, to be sure. I shall simply finish most of it over the “winter” before it becomes un-enjoyable.

Thank you for a nice review. I think that it is a very good thing to have multiple reviews reflecting multiple points of view on whiskies. And it is good for the commonly available and simpler whisky expressions not to be overlooked. After all, the new whisky drinker really will benefit from being able to read a few descriptions of what that Glenlivet 12 is likely to taste like if s/he proceeds to go for a taste of it for the first time.

As to Glenlivet 12, it is indeed simple and pleasant.

T

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...

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.

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.

@rwbenjey

I love the nose on this...I could sniff it forever : ) Fresh apple, mild citrus (lemon?), honey, flowers, caramel, assorted candy.

The palate is rich, sweet, and fruity. Honey is at the forefront, followed by the apple, brown sugar, candied walnut, and seaweed. With water, the citrus is a lot more pronounced.

The finish is dry, salty, and vegetal. Kind of sour too.

This stuff is pretty decent. I like it better than the Glenfiddich 12 Year.

@GT2

Dram, neat, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The pour is a deep amber with not a hell of a lot of leg structure forming.

Nose: Heavy on cinnamon and cloves, opening up to vanilla and baked pear. Let it open up further to vanilla cinnamon ice cream.

Taste: Too tannic and sharp for me- astringent and bitter like cinnamon stick. Over the top oakiness dominates any subtle character.

Palate: Pretty thin, especially compared to Glenfiddich 12.

Overall, not a big fan.

I would agree with your assessment of Glenlivet 12's comparitive standing in relation to Glenfiddich 12. The only caveat to my personal experience with the two is that I had the Glenlivet from a 50 mL mini-bottle, and I have had some disappointing reactions to servings from 50 & 200 mL mini-bottles, relative to servings from 1/2 or full size bottles, for the same whisky.

I would instead go with Auchentoshan 12 or (to a lesser extent) Strathisla 12 as an introductory whisky that would get someone excited about drinking whisky, without draining their budget in the process.

s

This is a simple malt that does one thing very well: apples, apples, apples. The nose is bright, the body is clean, and the finish is fairly long. All the while you're savoring oaky apples, with hints of pepper, citrus, and butter.

@Pudge72

I have previously reviewed Glenfiddich 12 yo and, in the pursuit of a comparison between what seem to be widely regarded as the two primary "gateway" drams, I purchased a 50 mL sample bottle of Glenlivet 12 yo and sampled it a couple of days after the Glenfiddich. As I'm still very much in SMSW rookie territory, take the review for what it's worth...

Nose: Overall sweet and pleasant, with green apple (though I did not note it as strongly as other reviewers appear to have) and pear present with vanilla notes providing the sweetening effect. On a couple occasions, a dry, grassy, hay-like aroma made a brief appearance.

Palate/Taste: I have discovered that I am still having issues identifying tastes within the mouth, so my grade might be seen as unfairly low. What I did find noteworthy regardless, is that the alcohol seems to smother tastes within the mouth much more so than any other dram that I have tried to date. When tastes do appear after the carpet bombing of alcohol has vacated, the previously noted apple and dry grass is noted to a small degree.

Balance/Body: overall a thin, slightly oily (which I found unusual for a Speyside) mouthfeel is noted. What little taste was noted in the mouth did seem to transfer from the nose fairly well. However, the transfer from mouth to finish was very abrupt, and biting.

Finish: Very drying/biting feel on the tongue, reminiscent of cinnamon. Initially, the finish is quite short, but lengthens after about the 3rd/4th sip. I found the bite to significantly overwhelm any taste profile...again, that could just be my lack of experience. An actual cinnamon taste does appear, with a small bit of honey occasionally poking through.

Overall, my personal preference is Glenfiddich over Glenlivet as I found it smoother, with less impact from alcohol, which allowed the flavour profile to emerge more easily. That being said, I will be more than happy to re-sample both down the road for the purposes of re-evaluating my initial impressions. I also wonder (since my reaction was not as positive as most others to The Glenlivet) if the fact that I had a 50mL sample bottle, instead of a dram from a 1/2 or full sized bottle, may have produced a different sample for tasting.

One observation I made when nosing this dram was that for me, nosing at or above the rim of the glass is much more effective in drawing out the subtle aromas, compared to putting the nose into the glass. I found that going below the rim, the alcohol tended to dominate and overpower most aromas. Above the rim, the alcohol disipates, letting the subtle aromas present themselves. Also interesting, nosing at different angles and distances to the rim allowed different aromas to become highlighted.

@shokkas

Nose: Floral start, almost no alcohol felt. Cider HaGalil (Israeli brand) concentrated apple juice (before water is added to prepare the juice). Candy, toffee and honey. Very sweet nose. Very lovely nose! I just sat and sniffed it for a looong time.

Palate: Soft, sweet but not as sweet as nose makes you expect. Apple juice (now after the water) very noticeable. Candy and some sweet pomelo.

Finish : Medium which starts sweet but turns to be a bit bitter towards the end.

Conclusion: Very nice, tasty and fun dram. Maybe not for the winter but rather spring/summer, but lovely it is. After trying this I am certain that I must try other expressions of The Glenlivet. Lucky for me I discovered that Raviv from our society just happens to have some.

I think The Glenlivet can (and shall) make a very nice addition to my (and any whisky lover) whisky cabinet.

(full review at whiskyisrael.co.il/2011/02/…)

I agree, that can happen. Therefore it is usually best, if possible, to try a whisky several times over long periods of time. The notes I wrote here are based on a sample 50ml bottle I was given.

After I bought a "real" bottle, I was happy to learn that the spirit it contained is not too far from what I wrote initially (bit more zesty and tad more citrusy).

I say that every dram one doesn't favor at first attempt, should be given at least one more chance at a different time. After all not only the bottle can affect the taste - sickness, room temp, air around us etc.

For example I bought a Lagavulin DE 1993. When I first tried it I was horrified (really foul). Tried it again after 2 months - it was much more pleasant and likable. Then I tried it just 2 days ago again - I couldn't finish it and pured it into a plant. And this was the same bottle!

Quality between bottling and surely between years can change, and we must take that into consideration when dramming :)

@shokkas, your decription of your Lagavulin DE 1993 experience brings up yet another point: some whiskies change taste substantially within weeks and months after a bottle is opened. I suspect that in the case of your Lag 93 experience that this was largely a whisky open bottle taste evolution experience and not simply different circumstances and moods of you, the drammer. In the case of bourbons, especially, the "open bottle taste evolution phenomenon" can be enormous. I see it to a lesser degree with malts, but I perceive that it does indeed occur.

@Dellnola

Nose: Spirity harshness combined with citrus. The result is an aroma that reminds me of some sort of generic household cleaner. For a whisky bottled at 40%, this one sure does jump up the nose. 

Palate: pleasant sweetness, malty, woody, not offensive at all, just not very characterful. 

Finish: a bit sharp, citrus but without the household cleaner. 

This is what you get when volume takes priority over quality control. Of course that is an assumption, but it seems as though this distillery has so much potential (the Nadurra 16 for example, review on that later) but doesn't often show it. You'll never be able to convince me that you get what you pay for in this case because there are so many very affordable whiskies that are of very high quality. Please, Glenlivet, flex your muscles. Show off what you're capable of and do it at an affordable price! You have this gift of a huge market that will buy your product simply because it's there. Of course you don't need to produce a 12 year old of higher quality because you need the money. Produce a higher quality of the 12 year old because you can! 

Well, I guess I will be able to pass judgment on the 15 year old French Oak Reserve on Saturday. I bought a bottle for my brother's birthday. It is years since I had a Glenlivet. I did get a bottle of the 12 year at that time, it being my first single malt. All I remember thinking was that there really was nothing remarkable about it. A bit later on, I got a bottle of Ballantines 12 year at a duty free store, which I found great. After that, I tried Ballantine's Finest many times, and preferred it to the Glenlivet. Years later, I do find many single malts that are remarkable. I am now 61 years old, and how I wish that I had discovered single malt whisky a long time ago, instead of just a few months ago. The worldwide demand is so high now, that I suspect a lot of distilleries are cranking out products of somewhat less quality than before, to keep up with the demand. Being new to the whisky scene, I cannot say firsthand, but I do read a lot of whisky reviews and comments that reflect this opinion. Then I try to base my tastings and purchases on that. Here's to happier tastings ahead! Cheers, Carl

Happier tastings are indeed ahead. My next reviews are of the Bladnoch 18 year old, Mortlach 16 year old Flora and Fauna, Rosebank 12 year old Flora and Fauna, Glenfarclas 15 year old, Highland Park 30 year old, the original strength Highland Park 21 year old at 47.5%. For every disappointment in the whisky world, there are 10 stunners!

@tabendar

Great nose and wonderful development that flattens out quickly towards the finish which is somewhat abrupt. Hints of caramel and slightly bitter towards the end.

D

Lots of summer and Autumn fruits, such as apples and grapes, with a great bit of straw and leather come through on the nose.

The taste is surprisingly clean sweet and fruity. Where the finish has a slight burn but other than that it is long lasting grains and apples.

@OJK

Nose, Taste, Finish and Balance are graded out of 2.5 each:

Nose: There's a feel we've just entered a university laundromat, there's that unique dry-cleaning smell, mixed with fabric softener and soap. Once we enter the laundromat however and allow for our senses to get used to the ambient aroma, we can find banana and custard notes milling around, backed up by a slightly lost layer of aniseed and malt. 1.5

Taste: The palate does its best to make up for the nose's failings, and delivers a welcome dish of shortbread covered in marmalade and gooseberry, on a bed of very soft spice. Delivering a solid tried-and-tested Speyside repertoire is a surefire way to win back some favour from the crowd. 2.0

Finish: A slightly bitter note of pencil-lead and wooden spice lets down the palate's hard work, leaving us with a very short finale of wooden jalapeno spice and a very stingy serving of vanilla cream. 1.5

Balance: Certainly a bottle I could live without. Were I to be served it as a guest, I would still be able to find some redeeming qualities within it, however it would be a bit of an effort. The palate is admirably faithful to the Speyside tradition, even if not trying to do anything different. It's the nose and the finish though that really let the side down, giving the whisky an air of having been sloppily and hastily put together. Surely this can't have been worth a 12 year wait? 1.5

Hi @jdcook. That is indeed my lowest score. Although I've given quite a few 1.5's in the sub-categories, I've so far not reviewed anything less than 7.5. That's because I normally only write reviews about whiskies that I really rate as they tend to be the ones I want to tell people about. In this case however I happened to have it in a blind tasting along with the whole Amrut range, and had written up my notes so I thought I may as well publish them!

Hi @drinix, thanks a lot for your feedback, very much appreciated!! i have to say i was close to giving the same score to the nose as to the palate, but i went back to the glass after about ten minutes and there was a slight note of windscreen wiper fluid that had developed through oxidisation, that i thought made the nose feel very out of key. not a terrible whisky by any means, just very forgettable.

j

This is what my family would consider an everyday (or even starter) Scotch, and I would agree. Certainly not the most complex whisky out there, but a smooth dram. The smell and taste of apples is quite nice.

r

I think this is a very good malt. Not only because this is the first legal malt in Scotland(and this is an important historical role). In Glenlivet 12 we can resume the typical trait of Speyside malt (fruity and sweety), in fact this is often use for blended. The price in the supermarket is very good (like 18€), is the best for the people whose want has in their bar a good malt, and doesn't want spend much money.

The taste is sweet, easy and affordable, is very good to start the knowledge of the single malts.

@MrAnon12345

I'm not sure why I'm underwhelmed by this scotch. Perhaps it's that it does nothing exceptionally well, and many things half-decently. The nose is light - a bit of oak, a bit of sweetness, a bit of citrus, but nothing in abundance. Taste is a forward flavor that I can describe no better than "generic Scotch." Again, a tiny bit of oak, but no smoke and no peat. A very quick finish, very clean, with a tiny hint of acidity.

None of these things are actually bad - this bottle is very good at what it does. It just doesn't do much of anything; certainly nothing worth writing home about. Don't cut it - it's light and smooth enough by itself.

Most of the time you can do better at the same price. However, as one other reviewer has remarked, this is notable as a great gateway scotch. It's among the smoother, lighter single malts; it has hints of many things present in nicer whiskies, without an overabundance of anything.

Yeah I agree, it's inoffensive and is ok, satisfactions pretty low though.

One of my first bottles of scotch I ever purchased. Disappointing now, like you said does not seem to do much of anything. To be honest I'm glad it's done more room in the bar for tastier ones.

@WhiskyApostle

Nose: Crisp green apples, caramel, candy apple coating. This is a very fruity and accessible nose for the neophyte but not very “Scotch-y.” No smoke and no earth. Palate: The green apple is still present, but the sweeter notes move from caramel to sweet cream. There is something I can’t quite grasp that Richard calls grassy. I suppose I could call it saw grass, but it is very vague and faint. Finish: Short and tart. The skin of a Granny Smith apple. Comments: This is a pleasant dram with lots of crisp fruit. It is a great introduction for folks with a fondness for fruity drinks. Don’t bother adding water or using this as a mixer. Mixing kills the flavor. Among single malts, this is decidedly average (that’s why it is so popular). However, this stands out among gateway whiskies.

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