A tale of two Glens: Review double-header

This is a story of two Glens–perhaps the two most popular Glens in the Single Malt world. (note, I said popular, not spectacular.) This is a story of Glenfiddich 12, and Glenlivet 12. Every maltmuncher has one, and so mine is just a story and not the story, of course.

Both of these whiskies made their way to my cabinet as gifts. At ~$45 a bottle, they seemed like great ‘everyday dram’ bottles, but not being an everyday-dram kind of guy, I never picked up a bottle (I’d rather have a dram of Laphroaig QC or An Turas Mor on Wed-Fri-Sat then a finger of Glenfiddich 12 all week.) After trying both of them (spoiler) I don’t think my rule will change.

Glenfiddich 12

Nose:  Candied fruit, sweetness. Pretty weak.

Palate: Deliciously smooth, a wonderful, albeit simple, sweet treat of candied fruit, with some hints of vanilla.

Finish: Medium at best.

Grade: C+

Glenlivet 12

Nose: Wow. A booming bouquet of floral and apple juice. Crunchy type, like a granny smith or a mac.

Palate: Comes in a little weak to start, with what the nose promised: apple, creamy sweetness, and strangely, a faint hint of peat. Closer to the finish, the flavours step it up. I wish the palate would have come in more like a lion.

Finish:Surprisingly long.

Grade: C+

It’s funny that these reviews suggest that with the nose and finish of the Glenlivet, and the palate of the Glenfiddich, this might be a solid B whisky, up there with the Highland Park 12. However, these deficencies cost them points, and I can’t say I’d necessarily buy a bottle again for anything other than a party, or perhaps if we were burning our palates with cigars, the Glenlivet would provide an excellent nose/finish accompaniment. That said, if I walk into a bar and they have these two, and the Macallan 10 Fine Oak, or the Glenmorangie original, I’ll take either of these, with the Glenfiddich winning the day by a hair. Part of me wants to say that “anyone on a budget would find these a great deal”, but I might eat those words when I review my other gift, the Aberlour 10 yr in about a week.


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