Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan

Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan | Exploring the Unique Flavours of Speyside

Speyside whiskies are some of the most sought-after and celebrated spirits in the world. Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, and Macallan are three of the most iconic Speyside distilleries that have been crafting whisky for centuries. Each distillery has its own unique character, flavours, and aromas that make them stand out from one another. In this article we’ll explore each distillery in detail to help you understand how they differ from each other and why they’re so beloved by whisky fans around the world.

In this article, I will explore each of these iconic distilleries by comparing their 12 year old offerings in order to determine which is best. By looking at the various components such as aroma, taste, finish and complexity I will be able to identify which distillery produces the finest single malt whisky in the battle between: Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan.

Glenlivet 12 vs Glenfiddich 12 vs Macallan 12
Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan: which of the 12’s is best?

Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan: Tasting notes at a glance

Glenlivet 12

Glenlivet 12

Nose: Succulence of apricot, a tangy burst of pineapple sweetness, greengages, citrus blossom and indulge in a decadent toasted teacake.

Palate: Delectable blend of buttery, vanilla-rich notes that still maintain the fresh burst of fruity flavours from its aroma.

Mouthfeel: creamy mouthfeel 

Finish: An enticing combination of oak-infused spice, maltiness and a subtle note of refreshing apple juice.

Age: 12 years

Cask/Barrels: European and American oak casks

Strength: 80 proof / 40%ABV

Price: £38 / $46

Glenfiddich 12

Glenfiddich 12

Nose: Sweet, malty grains lead the way, followed closely by gentle floral notes and lively orchard fruits. Hints of honey and citrus linger in the finish.

Palate: An inviting aroma of light florals and spices greets you, followed by a delightfully smooth sip.

Mouthfeel: delightfully supple and creamy, like butter.

Finish: A sweet, oaky aroma laced with a hint of fruity notes, this one is certainly tongue-coatingly oily.

Age: 12 years

Cask/Barrels: American and European Oak casks.

Strength: 80 proof / 40% abv

Price: £36 / $43

Macallan 12

Macallan 12 Double Cask

Nose: This timeless dried-fruit taste is slightly more subtle than its Sherry Oak variation, and also emits a pleasing butterscotch perfume.

Palate: Treat yourself to the luxurious, velvety creaminess of honey complemented with piquant marmalade and a hint of cinnamon accented by freshly-made pastries.

Mouthfeel: delightfully supple and creamy, like butter.

Finish: An exquisite fusion of succulent fruits and luxurious vanilla, kissed with a hint of sultana.

Age: 12 years

Cask/Barrels: a combination of American and European Sherry oak 

Strength: 80 proof / 40% abv

Price: £65 / $84

Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan: Flavour Comparisons

If you’re looking for the perfect single malt Scotch whisky, look no further than The Glenlivet 12 year old, Glenfiddich 12 year old and Macallan 12 year old Double Cask. Each offering a unique flavor profile unlike any other – experience succulent apricot nose with buttery vanilla notes on the palate from Glenlivet; enjoy sweet malty flavors of floral notes, orchard fruits and honey in every sip from Glendiffich; indulge your taste buds to mild dried-fruit aromas paired with creamy vanilla, marmalade and pastries that come alive when tasting Macallan’s Sherry Oak expression. With these three amazing options available there is sure to be something for everyone!

When it comes to complexity, Glenlivet offers an enticing combination of oak-infused spice, maltiness and apple juice in the finish. Glenfiddich is slightly simpler than Glenlivet but still packs a punch, boasting an oaky aroma with fruity notes on the tongue. The Macallan Double Cask is not quite as spicy as Glenlivet but makes up for it in flavour thanks to its creamy mouthfeel and luscious fruit tones in the finish.

Price wise all three of these Scotch whiskies are affordable options that won’t break your budget. Glenlivet comes in at £37.50/$46 while Glenfiddich retails for £36/$43 and Macallan’s Double Cask costs US$84 UK£65.

Macallan is widely regarded as one of the most luxurious single malt Scotch whiskies on the market. It has a long-standing reputation for quality and craftsmanship, which is reflected in its higher price point than Glenlivet or Glenfiddich. The Macallan 12 Double Cask offers a smooth creamy texture with subtle sweetness, while Glenlivet has an enticing combination of oak-infused spice and Glenfiddich is sweeter with floral notes and orchard fruits.

The Macallan’s signature aromas come from their use of sherry oak casks, which are more expensive and harder to source than those used by Glenlivet and Glenfiddich. This allows the whisky to take on the unique flavour profile that makes it so desirable among connoisseurs. This additional effort helps to create an even higher quality product than what you would normally find from these other two brands.

The craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into every bottle of Macallan makes it a true luxury whisky experience. Its smooth mouthfeel combined with delicate dried-fruit aroma make it stand out from Glenlivet and Glenfiddich, making it a favourite amongst connoisseurs year after year. In comparison, Glenlivet’s apricot nose and buttery vanilla notes along with Glenfiddich’s sweet malty grain taste provide drinkers with a reliable classic but lack the complexity that comes with a bottle of Macallan 12 Double Cask.

Overall each of these Speyside whiskies offer something unique for those looking for an exquisite single malt experience. Glenlivet offers great complexity at an affordable price with its oak-infused spice; Glenfiddich has sweet malty grains accompanied by honeyed citrus; while Macallan’s double cask offering delivers creamy vanillas combined with luscious fruit flavours for an unforgettable taste sensation. No matter which one you choose you can be sure that you’re getting top shelf quality from any of these iconic distilleries!

Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan: Food Pairings

The Glenlivet 12 year old, Glenfiddich 12 year old and Macallan 12 year old Double Cask are all highly acclaimed single malt Scotch whiskies that offer unique flavour profiles. With so many variations of whisky to choose from, getting the most out of your favourite tipple is all about pairing it with the right food.

Whisky pairing may seem complicated at first but once you get familiar with different flavours found in various bottles you can start experimenting to find which whisky works best with your meal of choice! Whether it’s Glenlivet’s oak-infused spice, Glenfiddich’s sweet malty grain taste or Macallan’s luscious fruit tones; being able to identify these nuances will ensure you get the most out of your favourite Scotch whisky!

Don’t worry though, we’ve got a few suggestions below to help you get the most out of your next dram.

Glenlivet 12 food pairing

Glenlivet 12 year old single malt Scotch whisky is an excellent choice for extra mature cheddar cheese. The Glenlivet offers the perfect balance of oak-infused spice and malty sweetness to pair with the mature cheddar’s rich sharpness. Glenlivet has a light body and succulent apricot nose, making it ideal for pairing with extra mature cheddar cheese which has a strong nutty taste and crumbly texture.

Mature Cheddar Cheese

On the palate, Glenlivet is an explosion of buttery vanillas and zesty green apple notes that perfectly complements the salty tang of cheese without overpowering it. Its slightly citrusy finish offers a delightful contrast to full-flavoured aged cheddar’s piquant character. A remarkable balance allows for both not to be overwhelmed or overpowered by each other but instead amplifies their best qualities with just enough sweetness and spice from Glenlivet!

Enjoy extra mature cheddar as a standalone snack or elevate it by using it in delicious dishes such as macaroni & cheese, nachos, and even on charcuterie boards. Glenlivet 12 year old pairs perfectly with any type of extra mature cheddar, whether it’s melted over your favourite dish or served simply on its own alongside some crackers or crusty bread. With each sip of Glenlivet, the complexity and flavour will tantalise your taste buds, creating an unforgettable sensory experience that you can enjoy with any meal.

Glenfiddich 12 food pairing

Enhance the delicate flavours of sashimi with Glenfiddich 12 year old single malt Scotch whisky. Its sweet malty grain taste and honeyed citrus notes offset nicely against the subtle yet complex raw fish. The light body and silky texture soothe out the richness of this dish while its gentle sweetness enhances complexity, making your meal all that more enjoyable!

The Glenfiddich 12 year old has a light nose with aromas of light caramel and subtle smokiness, making it the perfect accompaniment to sashimi. It complements each bite by elevating its flavour profile without overpowering it. Its clean finish provides a pleasant contrast to the rich umami notes from the fish, making Glenfiddich an ideal companion for sushi or sashimi lovers.


Sashimi is usually served with a simple soy-based dipping sauce which can sometimes be too salty on its own; Glenfiddich’s sweetness nicely counters this saltiness in order to add another layer of enjoyment to every bite. Glenfiddich 12 year old also helps bring out more subtle notes in sashimi that can be difficult to identify such as lemon zest or even hints of ginger. Glenfiddich offers a harmonious union between whisky and sashimi, elevating both dishes without detracting from either one.

Whether you choose Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan or any other single malt Scotch whisky, when paired correctly they can truly take your meal experience up a notch! So next time you’re enjoying some sashimi, don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of Glenfiddich 12 – you won’t regret it!

Macallan 12 Double Cask Food Pairing

Macallan 12 year old double cask is the perfect partner for a young Manchego cheese. The whisky’s complex layers of toffee, fig, and dark chocolate notes blend beautifully with the rich buttery texture and nutty taste of Manchego. Macallan’s oaky vanilla aroma greets you on the nose before giving way to a full-bodied sweetness that pairs perfectly with the subtle tanginess of the cheese.

On the palate, Macallan 12 Double Cask has an intense woody flavour which complements the creaminess of the cheese while its lingering spicy finish serves as a nice counterpoint to Manchego’s savoury character. Furthermore, Macallan’s sophisticated smokey notes add an extra layer of complexity that enhances each bite of creamy Manchego cheese.

Manchego Cheese

The combination creates a harmonic union between whisky and cheese that can be enjoyed as part of a charcuterie board or on its own! Young Manchego is best appreciated when served at room temperature alongside some crusty bread or crackers; this allows its mild nuttiness to shine through and gives you time to sip your Macallan in between bites.

No matter how you choose to enjoy them, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich or Macallan you’ll get even more out of them when you pair them with some food.

Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan: Cocktails

Single malt Scotch Whiskies such as Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and Macallan are some of the most popular spirits for creating unique and delicious cocktails. The distinctive flavour profiles of single malt whiskies offer a depth of complexity and character that makes them ideal for crafting sophisticated drinks.

Single malts are known for their unique range of flavours, from smoky to sweet, spicy to nutty, or even fruity. Glenlivet offers notes of honeyed almonds, Glenfiddich has a sweet malty grain taste with citrus notes while Macallan has hints of toffee and dark chocolate. This variety in flavours allows you to create drinks that are tailored to your specific tastes and preferences.

When weighing up Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan they are all great choices for making cocktails. Thanks to their light body and smooth texture, these single malts work well when mixed with other ingredients such as liqueurs or juices; they provide a subtle yet complex backbone that will keep your guests coming back for more!

Single malt whiskies also offer an array of health benefits when enjoyed in moderation. Studies have found that moderate whiskey consumption can lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s also believed that whisky contains antioxidants which can protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.

When it comes to creating amazing cocktails, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich or Macallan is sure to hit the spot! Their complex flavour profiles provide endless opportunities for experimentation so why not try mixing them up this weekend? Invite your friends over and get creative – you never know what kind of delicious concoctions you’ll come up with! Here’s a few recipes to get you started.

Glenlivet 12 whisky cocktails

Glenlivet Milk Punch

Glenlivet Milk Punch

This holiday season, skip the eggnog and opt for something a little more comforting like Milk Punch. This silky scotch-and-milk cocktail is simply divine when served both warm or cold with just a sprinkle of nutmeg. Perfect for brunch in New Orleans style or as your go-to festive drink!

The Glenlivet 12 Year Old 50 ml

Powdered Sugar 1 tsp.

Your Milk Of Choice 230 ml

Nutmeg To Garnish


  1. Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake.
  2. Strain into a glass.
  3. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg.

The Glenlivet Royale

This inventive twist on the classic French 75 puts Single Malt and Champagne together for an unforgettable taste!

Watch the ‘How to’

For a cocktail that is sure to leave an impression, The Glenlivet Royale artfully mixes the smooth and balanced notes of The Glenlivet 12-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch with the crispness of French sparkling wine. This simple yet sophisticated mix creates an exquisite champagne and whisky combination that will tantalise your tastebuds!

The Glenlivet 12 Year Old 35 ml

Lemon Juice 15 ml

Honey Water 15 ml

Champagne 80 ml

Lemon Twist


  1. Pour The Glenlivet 12, lemon juice and honey water into a chilled flute.
  2. Top with champagne, stir and garnish with a lemon twist.

Glenfiddich 12 Cocktails


Godfather Cocktail

Let The Godfather tantalise your taste buds! Mix our bright and lively 12-Year Old expression with the fruity, yet complex Disaronno amaretto for an unforgettable flavour. Simply top it off with either sparkling water or lemonade to create a delicious evening treat that is often found in Mediterranean areas.


  • 25ml Glenfiddich 12 Year Old
  • 25ml Disaronno
  • 10ml fresh lemon juice
  • 100ml lemonade or sparkling water
  • 1 cherry
  • 3 – 4 ice cubes

The Pioneering Spirit

This exquisite beverage is the ultimate blend of modern and old-fashioned – a classic single malt Glenfiddich beautifully pairs with sweet pear juice and agave nectar to create an unforgettable whisky cocktail.

Pioneering Spirit Cocktail

1 ½ parts Glenfiddich 12 Year Old

2 parts pear juice

½ part agave nectar

1 part lemon juice

Shake all ingredients on ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

Macallan 12 Double Cask Cocktails

The Macallan Highball

As the temperature starts to rise, nothing beats this Macallan highball. It is a tantalising blend of zest and refreshment with an invigorating, spicy kick! All you need is some whisky, fino, lemon juice over lots of ice in a highball glass and then top it off with your favourite tonic water for an undeniably delicious beverage!

Whisky Highball Cocktail


25ml The Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask Whisky

25ml Fino Sherry

Juice of half a lemon

Tonic water to taste

Lemon rind to garnish

Highball glass

Rusty Nail

When you are looking for a simple yet delicious cocktail to make with friends, grab the Macallan and whip up the classic rusty nail. This timeless tipple is perfect to serve at relaxed gatherings or when someone drops by unexpectedly!

Rusty Nail Cocktail
  • ice
  • 50ml scotch whisky
  • 1 tbsp honey-flavoured whisky liqueur
  • strip of lemon peel, to garnish

Fill a tumbler with ice, then pour over the scotch whisky and whisky liqueur. Stir gently to combine.

Drop in a strip of lemon peel to garnish before serving.

Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan: Final Thoughts

Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan comparing the 12 year olds which is best?

Glenlivet 12 is a smooth and fruity single malt whisky that carries a signature Glenlivet character. Its unique flavour and aroma come from Glenlivet’s use of premium barley, blended with sherry-infused casks, giving Glenlivet 12 a distinctively sweet flavour. This whisky offers notes of citrus and honeysuckle, accompanied by sweet vanilla and honey flavours, making it an ideal choice for a light summer dram. Glenlivet 12 stands out from other whiskies because of its distinctive fruitiness and its ability to be enjoyed neat or in cocktails. It also pairs well with light foods such as salads or seafood dishes, so it can be enjoyed any time of the day. Glenlivet 12 is an excellent option for those looking for something versatile to enjoy on its own or with friends.

Glenfiddich 12 is a consistent single malt whisky that has won numerous awards and accolades. It is crafted with the highest quality barley. Glenfiddich 12 delivers a smooth, sweet and creamy taste, with notes of honey, vanilla, toffee and subtle oak on the finish. Its subtle aroma contains hints of apple blossom and butterscotch that make it a delight to drink neat or in whisky cocktails. Glenfiddich 12 also offers great versatility when combined with other ingredients like ginger ale or fruit juice in unique drinks like the Glenfiddich Godfather. The Glenfiddich 12 is sure to please any whisky connoisseur looking for an enjoyable dram!

Macallan 12 Double Cask is truly a special occasion dram that stands out amongst Glenlivet and Glenfiddich. Matured for an impressive 12 years in both European and American oak casks, this single malt whisky offers a unique flavour profile. It has an exquisite balance of sweetness from the oak-infused European sherry casks, as well as a smoky characteristic from the American ex-bourbon casks. On the nose it offers notes of dried fruit, honey, chocolate and spice with a hint of citrus. On the palate you can enjoy flavours of toffee, caramel and dark chocolate which leads to a smooth finish that lingers on your tongue with subtle hints of wood smoke and orange zest. Additionally, Macallan 12 Double Cask has won numerous awards including double golds at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and gold medals at both The Scotch Whisky Masters and International Spirits Challenge in 2020. With its exceptional complexity, Macallan 12 Double Cask is indeed an ideal dram to be enjoyed on special occasions!

Authors Pick:

When it comes to Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Macallan it’s a tough choice. As each of their 12 year olds bring something very different to the table.

If you are looking for the perfect whisky shelf staple I’d have to go with the Glenfiddich 12 year old

The consistent and smooth taste, along with its award-winning qualities, make Glenfiddich 12 a stand-out choice. It carries a unique flavour profile that has been crafted with the highest quality barley. Glenfiddich 12 offers notes of honey, vanilla, toffee and subtle oak on the finish, while its aroma contains hints of apple blossom and butterscotch. This whisky can be enjoyed neat or in cocktails, making it extremely versatile. Glenfiddich 12 also pairs well with light foods such as salads or seafood dishes.

Intrigued about Glenfiddich why not have a read of our other article: Glenmorangie vs Glenfiddich

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