If you’re a single malt scotch whisky drinker, then you’ve likely debated between Glenlivet 12 vs Glenfiddich 12 at some point or another.
These 12-year-old Speyside scotches are two of the most popular and beloved single-malt scotch brands in existence today. Not only are they both wonderful to drink, but they’re also a delight to review.
Exploring both these Speyside distilleries, you can’t help but revel in the rich history and beauty of this rich and famous whisky region. So settle in with your favourite scotch, and read on whilst we debate: which is better Glenfiddich 12 vs Glenlivet 12?
Speyside, Scotland is home to some of the world’s most renowned whiskies – The Glenlivet and Glenfiddich. Situated just 30km away from each other, they both share this beautiful region, best known for its world-famous whisky. Enjoyed by connoisseurs across the globe, these are two of the most iconic distilleries which we’ll explore in the review below.
The Glenlivet distillery was one of the first to be legally licensed in Speyside. Established in 1824 by a local farmer George Smith, he was quick to capitalise on the newly legalised distillation of alcohol resulting from the 1823 Excise Act. Having previously been amongst a syndicate of illicit distillers, he set out to legally produce the best possible whisky using the finest of ingredients and exacting processes. He soon set the standard for Speyside whisky and subsequently won the legal battle for using ‘The Glenlivet’ as his distillery’s trading name.
The Glenfiddich distillery was founded 63 years later by William Grant, a prominent whisky distiller and entrepreneur from Dufftown in Moray, Scotland. Originally working as a cobbler, he got a bookkeeping job at the local Mortlach distillery where his love for whisky was born. Saving every penny he earned, he and his family eventually built their own distillery on the banks of the river Fiddich. It was there that he pioneered the production of single malt whisky, cementing the Glenfiddich brand and it’s exquisite range of spirits.
Glenlivet 12 vs Glenfiddich 12
To truly appreciate the special qualities of these Scotch whiskies, it’s essential to understand their distinct tasting notes, complex aromas, flavours, and finishes. We’ve explored each bottle and listed their characteristics in the sections below.
Glenlivet 12 tasting notes
Nose: Apricot, pineapple, greengages, citrus blossom and a toasted teacake.
Palate: Buttery and vanilla-rich, though still packing all the bright fruit notes from the nose.
Finish: A soft crackle of oaky spice and malt, plus a hint of red apple juiciness.
Glenlivet 12 in more detail
The Glenlivet 12-year-old single malt scotch whisky boasts a rich and complex flavour profile that will satisfy both novice and experienced whisky drinkers alike.
The aroma of Glenlivet 12 has notes of apricot, pineapple, greengages and citrus blossom along with hints of toasted teacake.
On the palate, it’s velvety smooth with sweet notes of buttery vanilla that blend in with the bright fruit notes from the nose.
This whisky finishes off on a soft note with an oaky spice and toasty malt flavour combined with a hint of red apple juiciness.
The Glenlivet 12-year-old single malt scotch offers an exceptional smoothness balanced with subtle complexity in flavour making it one of the most popular whiskies available today. It pairs wonderfully with food due to its richness, bringing out delicious flavours in dishes while adding depth to any meal or snack. Glenlivet 12 is perfect for sipping neat or as part of cocktails or mixed drinks – it’s sure to please any Scotch aficionado!
Glenlivet have produced a fantastic series of videos to promote the versatility of Glenlivet for use in cocktails.
Glenfiddich 12 tasting notes
Nose: Grain. Slightly floral, orchard fruit, malty, honey. Citrus develops.
Palate: Light, floral, spices. Very smooth.
Finish: Sweet, a touch of oak and general fruit, oily.
Glenfiddich 12 in more detail
Glenfiddich 12 has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 40% which contributes to its bold flavour.
Its deep golden hue is due to ageing in handcrafted oak barrels for at least 12 years which allows Glenfiddich 12 to develop its complex flavour profile. The natural flavours from the wood are absorbed into Glenfiddich and also release some of its own compounds into the wood adding further complexity.
Glenfiddich 12 also contains malted barley and pure spring water from Robbie Dhu Springs as well as yeast, all sourced locally in Scotland, which contribute to this single malt’s distinctive taste.
Glenfiddich 12 is a bit more balanced with woody and sweet-tasting components. Look for sweet, fruity notes that finish with sweet butterscotch and woodsy oak.
Glenlivet 12 vs Glenfiddich 12: Smell
Good scotch should be taken in with all the senses. Glenlivet 12 will remind you of summer, with hints of meadows and, most notably, pineapple. Glenfiddich 12 smells crisp and fruity with a touch of pear. Both have an inviting scent that will make any whisky drinker eager to take their first sip!
Glenlivet 12 vs Glenfiddich 12: Colour
With these two classics side-by-side, it’s difficult to tell them apart – at least at first glance. With Glenlivet 12 boasting an inviting golden hue and Glenfiddich 12 glowing deep amber colour, it’s easy to think they’re identical twins. However, taking a closer look reveals subtle differences between their respective shades of gold that let aficionados know which one is which (disclaimer: both of these use caramel colouring to enhance the shade).
Glenlivet 12 vs Glenfiddich 12 Comparison
|Glenlivet 12 vs Glenfiddich 12||Glenlivet 12||Glenfiddich 12|
|Nose||Apricot, pineapple, greengages, citrus blossom and a toasted teacake.||Grain. Slightly floral, orchard fruit, malty, honey. Citrus develops.|
|Palate||Buttery and vanilla-rich, though still packing all the bright fruit notes from the nose.||Light, floral, spices. Very smooth.|
|Finish||A soft crackle of oaky spice and malt, plus a hint of red apple juiciness.||Sweet, a touch of oak and general fruit, oily.|
|Age||12 years||12 years|
|Colour||Golden (Artificially enhanced)||Golden (Artificially enhanced)|
|Classification||single malt scotch whisky||single malt scotch whisky|
|Cask||American Oak Casks||American and European Oak casks|
Verdict: Glenlivet 12 vs Glenfiddich 12
Choosing between The Glenlivet 12 vs Glenfiddich 12 is a tough decision, as both are exceptional single-malt scotch whiskies. Considering their parity prices, they provide an equally fantastic entry-level drinking experience. After tasting and debating both bottles, here are our final thoughts.
The Glenlivet 12 has a wonderful, fruity profile. We thoroughly enjoyed the sweet hints of apricot and pineapple which livened the entire drinking experience. In the background, there was a pleasing floral nature to this whisky which gave a lovely freshness. By comparison, it’s much fruitier than the Glenfiddich and less woody in flavour. So, if you’re looking for something light, complex and varied, this would be our best choice of these two bottles.
Glenfiddich 12 provides an incredibly balanced taste with a malty, sweet honeyed taste. This whisky is exceptionally smooth with a full-bodied array of floral notes and oak spice. For those who enjoy the natural grain flavour in their whisky, these buttery cereal notes are more evident than the Glenlivet. Undeniably, the GF12 is a world-famous whisky, so it’s hard to fault its easy-drinking experience which we’ve come to expect.
Both these whiskies are excellent drams, but we feel the Glenlivet 12 is just that little extra appealing. On the nose and palate, its fruity character is what stole the show during our taste test. As much as we enjoyed the Glenfiddich 12 and its wonderful smoothness, the Glenlivet is our overall winner.
As a reminder, these whiskies are nearly identical in price and in our opinion, provide excellent value for money at around the $40/£33 price point. They’re definitely worth having in the collection for a little mid-week dram, especially as a guilt-free tipple that won’t break the bank.
Down the rabbit hole?
- Glenlivet 15 vs Glenfiddich 15
- Glenlivet 18 vs Glenfiddich 18
- Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Glenmorangie.
Also if you have any suggestion of any other whiskies you’d like us to compare please let us know. We love to hear from you. Maybe: Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan or Glenlivet Founders Reserve vs Glenfiddich 12?
What makes Speyside Region Whisky Unique?
To understand why Speyside whiskies are so highly prized, one must first consider the unique environment in which they are produced. Located in Scotland’s northeast corner and bordered on either side by two large mountain ranges, the Grampian mountains and the Cairngorms, Speyside enjoys cool temperatures year-round, making it an ideal location for whisky distillation. It also has a rich abundance of natural resources such as peat and soft spring water that contribute to the flavour of its spirits.
Making Glenlivet 12
The ingredients that are used to make this 12-year-old scotch are malted barley, yeast, and water from Josie’s Well. They are mixed together in large stainless steel containers, where they ferment for 48 hours with additional yeast added during the process. After fermentation, the liquid is distilled in copper pot stills and then aged for twelve years in oak barrels. During ageing, the whisky absorbs flavours from the wood of the barrel and develops its signature smoothness. It has an alcohol content of 40%.
Every bottle carries with it two centuries of tradition, skill, and passion combined with modern craftsmanship – something that has been handed down from founder George Smith himself.
Making Glenfiddich 12
This 12-year-old scotch is a single malt scotch whisky made from malted barley and pure spring water from the nearby Robbie Dhu spring. It also contains yeast, which contributes to this whisky’s distinctive flavour. All of these ingredients are sourced locally in Scotland.
After being distilled in copper stills, Glenfiddich 12 is placed in handcrafted oak casks for at least twelve years where it slowly matures and develops its unique flavour profile. During this process, the whisky absorbs natural flavours from the wood while also releasing some of its own compounds into the wood which adds to its complexity. It also has an alcohol content of 40%.
From sourcing local ingredients to carefully ageing each bottle for at least twelve years, it’s easy to see why Glenfiddich single malt scotches have become such a beloved classic among whisky drinkers around the world.
Is Glenlivet and Glenfiddich the same company?
No, Glenlivet and Glenfiddich are not the same company. Glenlivet is owned by French drinks giant Pernod Ricard and Glenfiddich is owned by William Grant & Sons. Glenlivet was founded in 1824 by George Smith and Glenfiddich was established in 1886 by William Grant following his path as an employee of the Mortlach distillery.
Although both Glenlivet and Glenfiddich are single malt Speyside whiskies, they differ in taste due to the different production methods that each distillery uses. Glenlivet uses a unique production process called ‘The Glenlivet Code’ which helps create a light, smooth whisky while Glenfiddich takes a more traditional approach to production resulting in a spirit that has a bolder flavour with oaky tones.
The environment of the Speyside region where these two single malt whiskies come from also contributes significantly to their flavour profiles; due to its cool temperatures, large neighbouring mountain ranges and abundance of natural resources like peat and soft spring water, Speyside whiskies have gained renown for their complexity and quality. This can be attributed to the dedication of each distillery in perfecting their craft which results in highly sought-after products from light to robust with unique flavour layers.
In terms of popularity, both Glenlivet 12 and Glenfiddich 12 have grown immensely around the globe due to their widespread availability worldwide. Today you can find these two single malt scotches at most bars as well as online stores where whisky lovers can get an up close and personal experience with these two great brands of whisky.
Is Glenfiddich 12 worth it?
The Glenfiddich 12-year-old single malt scotch is definitely worth it. This whisky is crafted with passion, tradition, and skill at Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland. Every bottle of Glenfiddich 12 has been aged for a minimum of 12 years in handcrafted oak casks, where it absorbs natural flavours from the wood while also releasing some of its own compounds into the wood which adds to its complexity. Glenfiddich 12 has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 40% and contains malted barley and pure spring water from the Robbie Dhu Springs as well as yeast, which contributes to its distinctive flavour.
Glenfiddich 12 has a deep golden hue and a light but powerful aroma that carries floral notes on the nose with hints of honey and spice on the palate. This whiskey is rounded off perfectly with sweet touches of vanilla on the finish. Its light body yet robust character make Glenfiddich 12 an ideal whisky for sipping neat or enjoying as part of cocktails or mixed drinks.
Thanks to Glenfiddich’s ongoing commitment to quality, Glenfiddich 12 offers exceptional smoothness along with complex flavour – making it one of the most popular single malt scotches around the world. It also pairs wonderfully with food, thanks to its rich texture that brings out flavours in dishes and adds depth to any meal.
At Glenfiddich Distillery they believe that “the way forward is to hold onto our traditional values whilst embracing modern craftsmanship” – something that Glenfiddich 12 does exceptionally well when it comes to whisky production. With two centuries of expertise behind them, Glenfiddich continues to craft each bottle with passion and dedication – making their whiskies all the more enjoyable for those who appreciate Scotch whisky!
Is Glenlivet 12 top shelf?
Glenlivet 12 is widely considered a mid-shelf whisky, renowned for its smooth and subtle taste. It has been crafted with utmost attention to detail, using the same processes and ingredients for more than 200 years. The Glenlivet distillery processes the whisky through triple distillation, following the Glenlivet Code, which is an original method that George Smith pioneered in 1824.
The distinct flavour of Glenlivet 12 comes from the combination of malted barley, yeast and water from Josie’s Well which is then aged for twelve years in oak barrels. This gives Glenlivet 12 its signature smoothness and complexity that has made it so popular amongst whisky connoisseurs around the world. Glenlivet 12 also carries with it two centuries of tradition and skill that have been passed down from generation to generation – something that makes this single malt scotch stand out amongst other whiskies.
The whisky boasts a light golden hue with floral aromas on the nose and a hint of sweetness on the palate. On the finish you can find notes of vanilla, honey and fruits which combine to make Glenlivet 12 truly unique. With 40% ABV (Alcohol By Volume), Glenlivet 12 provides an ideal balance between strength and flavour – making it perfect for sipping neat or as part of cocktails or mixed drinks.
Glenlivet 12 is no doubt one of the finest whiskies available today – making it more than worthy of its place on any top shelf!
Is Glenlivet 12 smooth?
Glenlivet 12 is widely known for its smoothness, with a subtle and delicate flavour that has made it one of the most sought-after single malt scotches around the world. The Glenlivet distillery uses a triple distillation process to craft Glenlivet 12, which brings out its signature smoothness and complexity. This process begins by blending malted barley, yeast and water from Josie’s Well in large stainless steel containers for fermentation. After this, the liquid is double distilled in copper pot stills and then aged for twelve years in oak barrels.
During the ageing process, Glenlivet 12 absorbs flavours from the wood of the barrel which merge with its unique ingredients to give it an exceptionally smooth taste. The whisky also carries two centuries of tradition, skill, and passion combined with modern craftsmanship – something that makes Glenlivet stand out among other whiskies. The light golden hue of Glenlivet 12 gives off floral aromas on the nose while its palate is filled with hints of sweetness and notes of vanilla, honey and fruits. Its 40% ABV (Alcohol By Volume) provides an ideal balance between strength and flavour – making it perfect for sipping neat or as part of cocktails or mixed drinks.
In addition to its smoothness, Glenlivet 12 has a subtle yet complex taste that lingers on your tongue long after you have taken a sip. The whisky’s rich texture blends perfectly with various food dishes due to its unique layering of flavours – adding depth to any meal. Glenlivet 12 truly stands out amongst single malt scotches due to its commitment to excellence throughout every step of production which ultimately results in one of the smoothest scotches available today!
What makes Speyside single malt scotch so special?
Like any creative or industrial hub, Speyside is a concentration of abundant natural resources which facilitated the growth and experimentation for formative whisky distillers in the late 1700’s. What started as illicit distillation later became legal, which further propelled and legitimised the growing network of lucrative distillers.
As the saying goes, ‘iron sharpens iron’. With so many distilleries competing with each other, the local talent-pool expanded, raising the bar for quality and therefore making Speyside a hot-spot for exceptional whisky.
So, whether you’re a seasoned whisky drinker looking for something new or you’re just starting out on your whisky journey, The Glenlivet 12 and Glenfiddich 12 single malt whiskies are a great place to start.