Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich

Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich | Which Is the King of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies?

Glencairn drinking glass beside bottle of Glenfiddich 12 whisky

I’m often asked: which is better Glenfiddich or Glenlivet?

It’s not an easy question to answer as both have unique qualities that make them special. However, after tasting both whiskies, I can confidently say that each has its own merits and it really comes down to personal preference.

The Glenlivet distillery is renowned for its fruitiness and subtle sweetness while Glenfiddich offers more robust flavours with character. Both produce excellent whiskies in their own right and offer something different from one another. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which you prefer, the aim of this article is to help inform you as to which one will suit your palate.

Most whisky enthusiasts will agree that the winner in most cases is one of the Speyside single malt scotch whiskies.

Are you looking to experience the unique flavour and velvety texture of single-malt scotch whisky? If so, look no further than Glenfiddich or Glenlivet from Speyside. These two legendary whiskies have become beloved around the world for their remarkable taste profiles.

In America, many bars stock up on bottles of Glenlivet; however, once you cross outside its borders into another country, it is clear that Glenfiddich steals all attention as it rules pubs and clubs everywhere else!

Deciding between Glenfiddich and Glenlivet single-malt scotches can be a tricky task, for both are of incredible quality. To determine the superior brand you must examine each whisky’s unique characteristics in greater detail.

After you read this article, we will have explored all the essential variations between these Speyside whiskies until eventually deciding which is one is right for you.

Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich

Comparing Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich will eventually boil down to personal preference, in which the flavours of both Glenlivet and Glenfiddich will play a huge role.

We decided to review the 12 year old expression of each scotch whisky as its one of the most popular malt whisky in each brands repitoire. As it’s a near entry level single malt scotch for both brands it’ll also enable us to discuss the: Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich price differences.

Bottle of Glenlivet Scotch whisky beside drinking glass filled with large chunk of ice

Glenlivet 12 flavour profile

The Glenlivet 12 Year Old single malt scotch whisky is a sumptuous blend of flavours that delight the senses. Its unique flavour profile boasts aromas of light toffee, dried fruits and sweet citrus notes. On the palate, it delivers delicate fruity notes with a hint of creamy caramel before leading into a fresh finish with subtle hints of pineapple.

This exquisite single malt Scotch whisky is the product of traditional oak barrel ageing combined with an additional period in an American oak cask. This additional ageing process imparts distinct aromatic character and complexity to The Glenlivet 12, giving it its signature vanilla overtones and fruity pineapple touches.

The Glenlivet 12 is produced from premium grain spirit that has been distilled at Josie’s Well onsite at the distillery in Scotland’s Speyside region; made even more special by being filtered through mineral-rich water sourced from Robbie Dhu Springs nearby. The combination of height and width in copper stills used for distillation ensures maximum extraction of subtleties found in both malted barley and the mineral-rich water used to produce this award-winning single malt Scotch whisky.

The result is an intriguingly smooth and complex flavour profile full of nuances, including notes of toffee, dried fruits, sweet citrus, nuts, creamy caramel and subtle hints of pineapple – all perfectly balanced to create an exceptionally balanced whisky experience. From start to finish this whisky never ceases to amaze, making it more than suitable for any special occasion – big or small!

Glenlivet 12 food pairing

The Glenlivet 12-Year-Old single malt scotch whisky is a sumptuous blend of flavours that delight the senses. Its unique flavour profile boasts aromas of light toffee, dried fruits and sweet citrus notes, as well as subtle hints of pineapple, making it the perfect accompaniment for seafood dishes. The fruity notes pair particularly well with scallops, adding an extra dimension to the dish while still allowing its natural flavours to shine through.

When pairing Glenlivet 12 with scallops, its delicate nutty notes work in harmony to accentuate the sweetness of the shellfish. The creamy caramel undertones also bring out the softness of flavour often found in scallops. This whisky’s fresh finish adds another layer to each bite, heightening its sweetness and further complimenting the succulent flavours of the dish.

In addition to the combination of sweet and savoury flavours found in this food and drink pairing, there is a complexity added thanks to its special production process – a combination of traditional oak barrel ageing followed by maturation in American oak casks. The latter imparts distinct aromatic character and complexity to The Glenlivet 12 giving it its signature vanilla overtones and fruity pineapple touches that make it perfectly suited for enjoying alongside scallops.

Glencairn drinking glass beside Glenfiddich 12 whisky bottle
Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich: The tasting

Glenfiddich 12 flavour profile

The Glenfiddich 12 single malt scotch whisky is a characteristically sweet whisky. Its unique flavour profile boasts aromas of light fresh fruit, such as creamy pear notes and apple notes, as well as creamy butterscotch notes. These notes are crisp on the palate with a hint of spice that lingers. Upon further tasting, there are subtle hints of honey and malt that add to the complexity of this special whisky.

The distinct flavours of this single malt Scotch whisky come from an intriguing combination of traditional oak barrel ageing in Oloroso sherry, European oak sherry casks and American oak casks. This additional ageing process imparts complex aromatic character and complexity to The Glenfiddich 12 giving it its signature vanilla overtones and delicately sweet fruity pear notes.

This exquisite blend is created from premium grain spirit that has been distilled at The Glenfiddich Distillery in Speyside, Scotland using height and width copper stills for maximum extraction. This process creates a smooth and complex flavour profile full of nuances – perfect for enjoying neat or with a mixer.

Glenfiddich 12 food pairing

When pairing the Glenfiddich 12-Year-Old single malt scotch whisky with food, its distinct characteristics make it very versatile. The delicate sweetness in this whisky pairs particularly well with seafood dishes, adding another layer to each bite while also highlighting the natural flavours in the dish. However, due to its slightly floral and fruity aroma, it can also be enjoyed alongside meat dishes too – especially when combined with rich sauces such as truffle oil or béarnaise sauce.

Whilst sipping the Glenfiddich 12 single malt Scotch whisky neat, one can appreciate how incredibly smooth it is. From start to finish this beverage never ceases to amaze; demanding attention for every sip taken thanks to its delicate sweetness combined with complex ingredients like vanilla and pear which linger long after each sip has been enjoyed. The long finish makes it more than suitable for any special occasion – big or small!

Bottle of Glenfiddich 12 year old whisky in bright sunlight

Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich: Final verdict

The battle between Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich was well fought anf both single malt Scotch whiskies offer unique flavour profiles that make them enjoyable to drink. With its delicate nutty notes and creamy caramel undertones, The Glenlivet is the perfect accompaniment for sweet seafood dishes such as scallops.

Whereas with its fragrant aromas of pear, apples and butterscotch along with subtle hints of honey and malt, The Glenfiddich makes a great pairing with meat dishes or enjoyed neat on special occasions thanks to its smoothness and long finish. Ultimately these two single malt whiskies illustrate how complex yet delightful whisky can be when it comes to taste – no matter which one you choose!

Authors favourite

I prefer Glenfiddich, in my opinion, the Glenfiddich 12-year-old single malt Scotch whisky is better than The Glenlivet. Although both whiskies have a unique flavour profile that can be enjoyed on their own or with food, I find that the distinct characteristics of Glenfiddich make it more versatile and enjoyable overall.

The fresh aromas of pear, apples, and butterscotch from The Glenfiddich immediately draw me in and the smoothness of this whisky makes it easy to sip neat. Upon further tasting, there are subtle hints of honey and malt that add complexity to this beverage. In addition to this, its traditional oak barrel ageing process in Olorosso Sherry Casks gives it a unique character that lingers long after each sip.

This makes Glenfiddich ideal for any special occasion – big or small! When paired with food, I find that this whisky has an incredibly versatile flavour profile; enhancing dishes such as seafood due to its delicate sweetness while adding another layer of taste when combined with rich sauces such as truffle oil or béarnaise sauce.

On the other hand, The Glenlivet offers pleasant nutty notes and creamy caramel undertones which make it ideal for pairing with sweet seafood dishes such as scallops. While these flavours are pleasant enough in their own right, I think they’re slightly overshadowed by The Glenfiddich’s intense aromas and complexity.

Overall, I believe that The Glenfiddich is better than The Glenlivet because of its unique character and complex flavour profile which make it perfectly suited for enjoying neat or with food. With its delicate sweetness combined with fragrant aromas of pear, apples and butterscotch along with subtle hints of honey and malt – it’s no wonder why this single malt Scotch whisky is often enjoyed on special occasions!

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If you are looking for more comparisons to further your education into the ins and outs of these Speysides why not have a read of:

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Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich – A History

Whisky being poured into two glasses

The rivalry between the two Scottish distilleries, Glenlivet and Glenfiddich, is nothing short of legendary. It is a battle that has raged on for centuries and one that still captures people’s imagination today. The two whisky makers have been competing against each other since the early 19th century, when they were both founded; and while times have changed, their ongoing competition continues to this day.

Glenlivet was founded in 1824 by George Smith and is situated near Ballindalloch in Moray, Scotland. The distillery has long been renowned for its light, subtle taste with notes of honey and nutmeg, along with a hint of fruitiness. Over the years it has become the top-selling single malt whisky in America and ranked second in global sales. This success can be attributed to its ability to withstand difficult times like The Great Depression and World War II without being forced to close down; proving its resilience over time.

Glenfiddich on the other hand was established by William Grant & Sons in Dufftown in 1886. It offers more intense flavours than Glenlivet. Its robust taste comes from its ageing process of 12-21 years which grants it an incredible depth of character that can be appreciated by whisky connoisseurs around the world.

The two distilleries have competed against each other for centuries and continue to do so today. Both brands have immense popularity throughout the world – particularly among whisky drinkers – with new fans discovering their unique offerings every day. While personal preference ultimately dictates which one you prefer, those who truly appreciate a good whisky will likely attest that both Glenlivet and Glenfiddich offer something special, each possessing qualities that make them worthy of praise across diverse markets worldwide.

Glenlivet in a glass

As two of the most popular Speyside whiskies, Glenlivet and Glenfiddich are surprisingly located within the same 19-mile radius in the heart of the Speyside region, Scotland.

Glenlivet backstory

Established in 1824, the Glenlivet distillery is nestled near Ballindalloch in Moray, Scotland. As it stands today as the oldest authorized distillery within its parish and produces single malt Scotch whisky of namesake stature. This proud facility has endured many difficulties like The Great Depression and World War II with hardly any closure during these dire times – a testament to its fortitude !

Glenlivet bag of malt

After World War II, he distillery experienced a period of exponential growth to become one of the most renowned single malt producers in the world. This was solidified when it became the top-selling single malts in America and ranked second overall for global sales.

Presently, Glenlivet is managed by Pernod Ricard, a French alcoholic beverage manufacturer. They produce 5,900,000 proof litres per year – enough to fill 6 million bottles! Most of these are sold as single malts while the remaining portion is used in making blended whiskey brands owned by Pernod Ricard. For example they actually now produce whisky for Chivas Regal.

The Glenlivet has been the biggest selling single malt in the USA for years.

Glenfiddich backstory

Glenfiddich 12 year old whisky bottle packaging tube beside Glencairn drinking glass

William Grant & Sons owns Glenfiddich, located in the scenic Scottish burgh of Dufftown in Moray. The whisky’s name is derived from Gleann Fhiodhaich which translates to “valley of the deer”- a homage that can be seen through its iconic stag logo.

Established in 1886, a new era of single malt began when the Glenfiddich ran its first batch of whisky from their stills on Christmas Day 1887. Nestled by the beautiful River Fiddich glen and surrounded by lush nature, Glenfiddich is one of Scotland’s most renowned distilleries with an illustrious history rooted deeply in tradition and spirit.

History of Glenfiddich

During the early 1920s, when America was in a period of prohibition, Glenfiddich Distillery stood out from all others by increasing production and rising to meet the sudden surge for aged whiskies that followed repeal.

After the tough years of the 1960s and ’70s, many small distilleries were closed or acquired. In an effort to stay afloat, William Grant & Sons increased their production of whisky and began advertising campaigns as well as a visitors’ center.

It was during this time they decided to promote single malt whisky as its own separate brand. This resulted in 1963’s launch of Glenfiddich single malt into international markets like the United States – essentially pioneering modern-day single malt scotch whiskies!

Still fiercely independent the fifth generation of William Grant’s descendants continue to actively oversee Glenfiddich today.

What are Speyside Whiskies?


A term that has become synonymous with quality and great taste, Speyside single malts are scotch whiskies that are distilled in the Speyside region in Scotland. Although it is not a very big area, Speyside produces over 60% of the whiskies we drink throughout the world.

Both Glenlivet and Glenfiddich are regarded as the lighter variety of Speyside single malts, as opposed to the sherried versions, such as Macallan whisky. Of all the defining features of Speyside whisky, it is the fruity notes that truly set them apart from whiskies of other regions.

The terroir of Speyside single malt scotch whiskies differs greatly due to the many rivers and glens that are in the region. However, Glenlivet and Glenfiddich distilleries are so close together that this terroir is difficult to differentiate.

Glenlivet Production Process

Glenlivet’s signature spirit is made possible thanks to the pristine waters sourced from Josie’s Well and other springs in close proximity to their distillery. The malt used comes straight from Portgordon’s Crisp Maltings, while their lantern shaped stills with narrow necks contribute towards a lighter tasting end product.

The distillery boasts seven wash stills with a capacity of 15,000 litres each and an additional seven spirit stills capable of holding up to 10,000 litres. Following production, the spirits are left to age in oak casks for optimal flavour and character.

Glenfiddich Production Process

Glenfiddich is a unique single malt Scotch whisky produced in a single distillery, crafted with the traditional pot still distillation process and made from malted barley.

At the onsite facility, there are an impressive 31 handmade “swan neck” copper pot stills. These smaller-than-usual vessels have a capacity of around 13 million litres and require a team of craftsmen and coppersmiths to keep them running smoothly. Glenfiddich ensures that their unique stills remain in top shape for optimal distilling performance.

The world-renowned Glenfiddich whisky draws its life source from Scotland’s very own Robbie Dhu springs, located mere steps away from the distillery.

At the Glenfiddich distillery, swan-necked copper stills are used for distillation. To further refine and perfect their whisky’s flavour profile, a variety of casks from around the world are utilized to mature it – such as rum barrels from the Caribbean, bourbon whiskey barrels from America, and sherry butts from Jerez de la Frontera in Spain . After ageing is complete, only pure Robbie Dhu spring water is added to the cut before bottling takes place.

Glenlivet Core Expressions

  • The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve
  • The Glenlivet 12 Year Old
  • The Glenlivet 14 Year Old
  • The Glenlivet 15 Year Old French Oak Reserve
  • The Glenlivet Nàdurra 16 Year Old
  • The Glenlivet 18 Year Old
  • The Glenlivet Archive 21 Year Old
  • The Glenlivet XXV 25 Year Old

Glenfiddich Core Expressions

  • Glenfiddich 12-year-old
  • Glenfiddich 15-year-old
  • Glenfiddich 18-year-old
  • Glenfiddich 21-year-old

Both Distilleries have other whiskies in their range, limited and special editions.

Which is costly Glenlivet or Glenfiddich?

There is a general misconception that single malt brands are so expensive because they have a longer maturation process. However, this is not true.

Single malt whiskies are priced so high because they are rare. Glenlivet and Glenfiddich, for example, are only made in the Speyside region. Making single malt scotch is also a very difficult process, and as the market grows, single malts become more expensive.

But both the Glenlivet and the Glenfiddich are very reasonably and similarly priced. Depending on the age of the bottle you are purchasing.

What is the smoothest Scotch?

Of the two whiskies, Glenfiddich is the smoother single malt scotch whisky because of the softer flavor profile that makes it easier to drink. Glenlivet, on the other hand, is a better choice if you want the subtle taste of European oak casks and a stronger aroma.

Keen to check out more about Glenfiddich? Why not read our article Macallan vs Glenfiddich to find out which come out on top.

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