Glenlivet 12 vs Macallan 12

Glenlivet 12 vs Macallan 12 | Which one will come out on top?

When it comes to single malt Scotch whisky, few brands have earned the level of respect and admiration as the Glenlivet and Macallan. If you can believe it, both of these iconic distilleries were established way back in 1824, making them nearly two centuries old!

With decades of history and quality whisky-making, these two brands have earned their place in the hearts of many whisky lovers. But how do these two compare? In Glenlivet 12 vs Macallan 12 we’ll take a closer look at each whisky to see which one offers the most rewarding drinking experience.

As a whisky enthusiast, I’ve always been intrigued by Glenlivet 12 and Macallan 12 year old whiskies. Both are iconic single malt Scotch whiskies that have earned their place in the hearts of many whisky lovers due to decades of history and quality whisky-making.

But how do these two age-old brands compare? Today, I’m going to take a closer look at Glenlivet 12 vs Macallan 12 year old whiskies to see which one offers the most rewarding drinking experience. Hopefully, it’ll help you choose between them as to which is right for you.

History of Glenlivet

Glenlivet Distillery
Glenlivet Distillery

The renowned Glenlivet Distillery is situated in the Speyside region of Scotland and proudly dates back to 1824, when George Smith – a local farmer from the parish of Glenlivet – became granted the pioneering legal allowance to distil whisky. Ever since this iconic establishment has been leading innovation within its industry.

With illegal whisky distilleries being commonplace in the area around Glenlivet for centuries, George Smith had a vision of something different. Through his risk-taking and entrepreneurial spirit, he was granted the first-ever license to distil whisky legitimately in 1824 – an event that changed everything. The local community welcomed this new era with great enthusiasm and admiration; now we know it as history!

The Glenlivet distillery is situated in the Valley of Livet, also known as ‘the valley of the smooth flowing one’ due to its proximity to the nearby River Livet. With its temperate climate and abundance of spring water from Josie’s Well located onsite, this idyllic location provides an unparalleled atmosphere for producing whisky that can be tasted in each sip. Surrounded by towering peaks from the Grampian Mountains, it is no wonder why The Glenlivet has become a global favourite!

The Glenlivet Distillery quickly ascended to fame due to its production of whisky that was unmatched in terms of quality and smoothness. This success can be attributed to the unique climate found in this area, which allowed for a slower maturation process that created an exceptional flavour. Consequently, Glenlivet’s whisky became associated with wealth and status as it become increasingly more sought-after over time.

In 1871, George Smith’s untimely passing resulted in his son taking the reins at the distillery. John decided to honour his father by keeping up with tradition and continuing production of whisky using George’s beloved methods. He eventually went on to trademark The Glenlivet name in 1884 – an eternal reminder of a remarkable legacy left behind by his late Father.

The Glenlivet Distillery is currently owned by Chivas Brothers, part of Pernod Ricard. They’ve kept the same production methods used by George Smith in the 1800s to continue making their renowned whisky.

Globally, Glenlivet has been celebrated for crafting high-calibre spirits. With numerous awards under its belt — such as the International Spirits Challenge’s “Scotch Whisky of the Year” and the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s “Gold Medal” — it’s no surprise that Glenlivet is a prominent member of The Scotch Whisky Association.

For centuries, Glenlivet whisky has been a source of pleasure for whiskey aficionados everywhere. This single malt’s reputation has made it an icon in Scotland and beyond; its recognition far-reaching. A visit to the Glenlivet Distillery is essential for any serious whisky drinker – a place where one can not only explore the birthplace of Scotch but also pay homage to this time-honoured tradition that continues within these Highland hills today.

History of Macallan

When it comes to single malt Scotches, The Macallan is a popular name that strikes the minds of many. Established by Alexander Reid in Easter Elchies’ Speyside region in 1824 – which coincidentally was also the year when Glenlivet Distillery opened its doors – Macallan Distillery has become one of the most renowned distilleries around today.

Taking advantage of local barley and copper stills, Reid developed whisky through a traditional technique. To impart an utterly unique flavour to this beverage, he opted for maturing it in sherry casks constructed from Spanish oak wood. Furthermore, he experimented with various wood finishes like rum and sherry to create distinct taste profiles that his customers would enjoy.

After Reid tragically passed away in 1847, his son inherited the distillery. He then partnered up with James Shearer Priest and James Davidson, however, following Davidson’s unexpected demise, James Stuart became its tenant. After two decades of managing it successfully, he went on to own multiple other distilleries – including The Macallan Distillery which he purchased in 1886.

Roderick Kemp is well-known for the success he achieved in advancing The Macallan’s reputation worldwide during his ownership of 1892-1909, solidifying himself as a pioneer in this area. Before her father passed away, Janet and her husband Alexander Harbinson took charge of the family business. But it was upon Alexander’s passing, Janet was faced with the choice to run her family business or to sell and she took the opportunity with both hands. She diligently sought out the premier advisors and invested prudently, yet efficiently, to not only keep her business afloat but also revitalize the local community.

This tale of a woman before her time is conveyed beautifully in this epic short film created by Macallan.

Epic short film telling the fascinating story of “Nettie”.

For many years, Macallan has established a reputation for creating a celebrated line of vintage whiskies. Distinguished and rare since the early 1900s, these exceptional spirits remain highly sought-after to this day.

In the 1950s, no single malt Scotch whisky could match The Macallan in terms of popularity. This was due to their experimentation with various finishes like Port, Madeira and Marsala that created intricate and layered whiskies. To this day, Macallan’s complex flavour profiles still make it one of the most sought-after drinks worldwide; its unique balance between sweetness and spice has made it a benchmark for others.

The Distillation process of Glenlivet 12

At the start of Glenlivet 12’s traditional distillation process, the barley is drenched in water for days and subsequently spread on a malt house floor. As warm air gradually dries out this grain, its natural sugars become more evident over time. This step of mashing and malting is essential to producing quality whisky like Glenlivet 12.

After the malted barley is crushed into tiny pieces, it’s time to begin the mash. By combining hot water with milled grain, starches are converted into sugars and a sweet liquid called wort emerges. This delightful elixir is then poured into crafted wooden washbacks where it ferments and transforms into a beer-like concoction known as ‘wash‘.

Glenlivet uses Speyside-style copper stills, which are also called “lamp glass stills”. The first distillation makes a liquid called “low wines,” which has an alcohol content of 20–25%. This is the first step in making whisky. In the second still, called the “spirit still,” the alcohol level is raised to about 70%.

After being aged for a minimum of twelve years, The Glenlivet 12 has been painstakingly matured in the perfect combination of American oak and Oloroso sherry casks. This process allows the whisky to absorb alluring flavours from its woody containers, resulting in an incredibly smooth spirit with a distinctive taste that is sure to win over even the most discerning whiskey connoisseurs.

The distillation process of Macallan 12 Double Cask

With centuries of testing and refining, the artful blend of science and craftsmanship that goes into Macallan 12 is sublime. To create this remarkable single malt Scotch whisky, it all starts with picking out only the finest barley before being distilled to perfection. A further ageing in sherry-seasoned casks finishes off this laborious process resulting in a product like no other!

The farmers of Scotland are meticulous when selecting the finest barley from their fields, drying it ever so slowly over a smoky peat fire to impart its unique flavour. This special process culminates with milling and mashing in hot water, releasing sweet fermentable sugars that make this one-of-a-kind grain truly unrivalled.

The Macallan Distillery is renowned for their whisky that’s expertly crafted through a two-stage distillation process. First, copper pot stills are heated with a flame to separate the alcohol and other essential oils from one another. This complex but precise method ensures each bottle of The Macallan contains an exceptional flavour profile.

For the second distillation process, copper pot stills are heated indirectly by steam rather than flames. This allows for The Macallan 12 to be crafted with only pure and undefiled whisky as any potential impurities are entirely filtered out during this stage of production.

After being distilled, this whisky is aged for a minimum of twelve years with the aid of American and European sherry casks. As this is the ‘Double Cask’ means that the distillate is split in half and aged separately. One half in an Olorosso Sherry Cask and the other in an American Oak, for them to then be brought together in a “marriage” to form the final product.

This process allows the woody and Sherry flavours to permeate into the spirit, creating an exquisite flavour profile and that characteristic golden-amber colour. The result? An extraordinary taste experience.

Macallan’s single malt Scotch whisky is an exquisite blend of art and science, from the handpicked barley to the exacting maturation in sherry-seasoned barrels.

Glenlivet 12 vs Macallan 12: Flavour profiles

Glenlivet 12 whisky bottle

Tasting notes at a glance: Glenlivet 12

Nose: Experience a vibrant blend of citrus blossom, pineapple, and greengages combined with the sweet taste of apricot.

Palate: This delicate and refined single malt has a velvety mouthfeel with elevated, yet balanced notes of orange and lemon. A hint of vanilla and toffee create an indulgent richness that highlights the spirit’s subtle complexity. Its vibrant character is sure to delight your palate in every sip!

Finish: The delightful citrus notes linger on, beckoning you to take another sip of this tantalizing dram.

Price: $46 / £38

Flavour profile of Glenlivet 12

Experience the unique flavour of Glenlivet 12, a single malt scotch whisky made with only top-tier malted barley and crafted in one distillery. Part of The Glenlivet family that includes 15, 18, 21 and 25 year old whiskies; its twelve year expression is the most popular – so you can trust it to deliver an unforgettable taste experience! When searching for something special in terms of flavourful whisky, look no further than Glenlivet 12!

The nose of Glenlivet 12 is a delightful surprise – nectarous honey, wisps of vanilla and delectable notes of pineapple and citrus. Upon taking the first sip your palate will be amazed; it’s smooth and creamy with an even texture that lingers on the tongue with its lengthy finish accompanied by hints of vanilla and toffee.

Glenlivet 12 is the perfect introduction to single malt Scotch whisky! Its light and smooth flavor makes it a delightful after-dinner indulgence – served neat or with some ice. What’s more, its versatility further adds to its popularity – pair Glenlivet 12 with salads, stews and other dishes for an unforgettable gustatory experience!

Are you after something a touch more robust? A whisky and pork pairing is the perfect way to go! The sweetness of Glenlivet 12 brings out the natural flavours of your pork dish, while its fruitiness adds an extra layer of flavour. Perfect with roast pork, chops or pulled pork sandwiches – make sure to include it in your next menu!

If seafood is more your thing, then the Glenlivet 12 is perfect for you. This whisky’s sweetness and fruitiness make for an ideal pairing with lighter seafood dishes like grilled salmon or seared scallops. Additionally, its fruity notes match up superbly with grilled shrimp—the smoothness of the whisky will calm down any added spice in the dish.

The next time you’re looking for the perfect pairing to complement your whisky, look no further than Glenlivet 12. Its smooth and fruity notes will elevate any dish you decide to pair with it – making for an indescribably delicious combination that is sure to satisfy even the most discerning palates.

Tasting notes at a glance: Macallan 12 Double Cask

Nose: A symphony of flavours, from creamy butterscotch to tart toffee apple and succulent candied orange, with a hint of freshly-cut oak completing the melody. Finally punctuated by an elegant vanilla custard for balance – this is a treat you won’t soon forget!

Palate: Aromas of wood spices such as ginger and nutmeg, combined with the bright scents of citrus fruits, caramelized sugar, raisins and resinous notes create a rich combination.

Finish: The sweet and gentle warmth of oak lingers on the palate, creating a delightful drying sensation.

Price: $84 / £69

The flavour profile of Macallan 12 Double Cask

The aromatic fragrance of Macallan 12 entices with its Sherry notes, alongside slight hints of toffee apple and candied orange for a delightful sweetness. Vanilla custard is perfectly balanced by newly felled oak undertones, while the smooth finish offers an almost imperceptible fruity sugar that lingers pleasantly on your taste buds. Its deep amber hue also holds a captivating reddish tinge—sure to delight any whisky enthusiast!

Unlock the delectable notes of Macallan 12 with only a few drops of water! Not only will it enhance your whisky-sipping experience, but its sweetness and complexity make it an ideal base for any cocktail you can think up. Elevate your next drink with just one simple ingredient – try adding some magic today!

Enjoy a rich and flavorful whisky experience with Macallan 12. Whether you prefer it alone or want to pair it up with something delicious, like a smoky rib-eye steak cooked just right for the ultimate full-course meal, this Scotch whisky is sure to satisfy your taste buds. You can also mix things up by enjoying light appetizers alongside -the options are simply endless!

Macallan 12 is a single malt that pairs ideally with cheese, such as cheddar, gouda and parmesan. The blend of the whisky’s sweet flavours and the cheese’s nutty and earthy taste creates an unforgettable combination. This whisky also works remarkably well when paired with seafood dishes like oysters, scallops or salmon; its boldness will amplify the delicate flavour of your favourite sea treats! Go ahead and try it for yourself to find out why this pairing is truly divine!

Glenlivet 12 vs Macallan 12: Comparison Table

BottleDouble cask 12 year old12 year old
ColourHarvest sun.Bright, vibrant gold.
NoseCreamy butterscotch, with a hint of toffee apple, candied orange, vanilla custard and newly felled oak.Fruity & summery.
PalateDeliciously honeyed wood spices and citrus balanced with raisins & caramel.Well-balanced & fruity with strong pineapple notes.
FinishLingering oak, warm, sweet & dry.Long, creamy and smooth.
Age12 yo12 yo
ClassificationSingle MaltSingle Malt
CaskAmerican oak + sherryOak + American oak
Chill filteredYesYes
Price (USD/GBP)$85 / £69$47 / £38
Glenlivet 12 vs Macallan 12 comparison table

Glenlivet vs Macallan price

The price points of these products are significantly different. The Glenlivet is about half the price of the Macallan 12 year old double cask. And we have to say for it’s price point its definitely punching about it weight in terms of flavour.

However, the Macallan is more refined as a dram, and if you are looking for a gift for a special birthday or a special treat for yourself we’d recommend splashing out a bit more and give the 12 year old double cask a try.

Final thoughts on Glenlivet 12 vs Macallan 12

I had the pleasure of trying Glenlivet 12 recently and it was a truly remarkable experience. This delectable beverage is bursting with luscious orchard fruit, captivating floral aromas, and a honeyed malt flavour accented by its creamy texture. For almost half the price of the Macallan, this really is a great all round whisky.

I’ve also had the privilege of trying Macallan 12 and I was blown away by its complexity. To begin with, the aromatic fragrance entices with its Sherry notes, alongside slight hints of caramel and dried fruits for a delightful sweetness. On the palate, an intoxicating blend of woody spices such as ginger and nutmeg joins forces with effervescent aromas of citrus fruits, caramelized sugar, raisins, and a hint of resinous notes.

If you want an extraordinary whisky experience, Glenlivet 12 and Macallan 12 are the perfect choices for you! The former is a gentle yet flavorful single malt that has zesty notes, while the latter exhibits robust flavours of wood and spice. Whether your preference is towards something light or strong – these two whiskies will not disappoint in delivering exquisite tastes to tantalise your taste buds! So if only the best can quench your thirst, there’s no better choice than Glenlivet 12 or Macallan 12.

Glenlivet 12 vs Macallan 12: Authors favourite

When it comes to whisky, there is nothing quite like the Macallan 12 Double Cask. With a unique and complex flavour profile, this single malt Scotch whisky stands out from the Glenlivet 12 in many ways. From its aromatic fragrance and Sherry notes, to its smooth finish with hints of fruit sugar and a deep amber hue—the Macallan 12 is an exquisite choice for any whisky enthusiast. Not only does it offer unparalleled flavour and sophistication, but a few drops of water can enhance these flavours further by adding just the right extra sweetness or complexity.

It is significantly pricier than the Glenlivet at £69.00/$87 compared with £37.95/$47, but I think for a special treat it’s definitely worth the extra money.

The Glenlivet 12 is certainly no slouch when it comes to flavour, with its luscious orchard fruits, floral aromas and honeyed malt taste that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds. However, compared to the Macallan 12, Glenlivet 12 simply cannot compete in terms of richness and complexity. While Glenlivet offers sweet notes with a creamy texture, Macallan’s blend of woody spices like ginger and nutmeg join forces with effervescent aromas of citrus fruits, caramelized sugar, raisins and resinous notes for an unforgettable experience.

Furthermore, the Macallan 12 provides an ideal base for cocktails due to its characterful flavour profile—its sweetness makes it easily adaptable to any mix you can think up! Plus, the distinctive flavours pair exceptionally well with cheese such as cheddar or gouda; while seafood dishes like oysters or salmon will be enhanced by its boldness! Glenlivet may be cheaper than Macallan at almost half the price; however, if you are after something truly extraordinary- then there is no better choice than Macallan 12 Double Cask!

If you’re keen on finding out more about the Glenlivet we’re also written a few more articles: Glenlivet 12 vs Glenfiddich 12

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