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Aberlour 12 vs Balvenie 12: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Aberlour 12 vs Balvenie 12 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Aberlour 12 Double Cask

  • Nose: Raisins, baking spice, charred oak.
  • Nose: Caramel, spice, nutmeg, charred oak.
  • Finish: Chocolate, cinnamon, charred oak.

Nose is quite pleasing as it offers a scent high in raisin, followed by baking spice and charred oak.

On the palate, Aberlour provides a good mouthfeel as it has a creamy texture. First sip hits with spice, but nothing too severe, as you keep drinking it caramel pops-up, along hints of nutmeg and charred oak.

The finish has a decent length, with a hint of bitter chocolate and cinnamon, along more charred oak which is present from start to finish.

Adding a drop or two of water releases more caramel, although it also brings more charred oak.

Overall, Aberlour 12 is a good malt, not overpowering, rich and sweet, smooth and gentle on the throat, making a good combination of easy going and yet interesting.

The bottle looks quite elegant, making a nice decoration piece. That should not be a deciding factor but this one shines above many others as it looks very classy.

Learn how it compares to the Dalmore 12!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this whisky:

  • Bottled at 80 proof (40% ABV).

  • Aged in both traditional oak casks and Oloroso sherry butts. Spanish Oloroso casks convey sweet notes of dried fruits, caramel, plums and cherries to the Aberlour.

  • The distillery was founded in 1879 by James Fleming, his motto was ‘Let the deed show.’

  • In 1975 Aberlour was acquired by Pernod Ricard, a French drinks giant who also owns Chivas Regal among several other brands.

Balvenie 12 DoubleWood

  • Nose: Ripe fruit, sherry, honey, vanilla.
  • Palate: Mixed nuts, citrus peel, vanilla, cinnamon, sherry.
  • Finish: Malty, oak spice, vanilla.

Balvenie 12 is quite aromatic as it delivers a strong scent rich in ripe fruit, sherry, along vanilla and honey.

On the palate, it provides a good mouthfeel as the body feels creamy. Flavor is has a hint of mixed nuts, along citrus peel, vanilla, a touch of cinnamon and sherry.

The finish has a good length, hitting with a bit of oak spice but nothing but nothing terrible, along vanilla.

Balvenie 12 has a nice nose, feels velvety, neither too sweet nor a sherry bomb, quite friendly and approachable.

It lacks complexity, yet provides good balance between sweet and spice along a satisfying finish with no alcohol burst.

This is the kind of whisky you drink neat although a splash of water will bring more oak and highlight the sweetness.

Overall, the Balvenie 12 is an unbelievably smooth dram and a pleasant experience for those who privilege smoothness and a not overly sweet taste.

Folks like me who prefer some harshness in their drinks will recognize its quality but will find it boring; like watching a French film.

Learn how it compares to the Dalmore 12!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this Scotch:

  • Bottled at 86 proof (43% ABV).

  • Balvenie Doublewood is aged for 12 years in ex-bourbon barrels and then kept in Oloroso Sherry butts for 9 months before bottling. Oloroso is a dry and aromatic style of sherry wine made in Jerez, Spain recognized for its sweetness.

  • This whisky is crafted by Malt Master David Stewart MBE, the first man to age whisky in a wine barrel; that was back in the 80s.

  • The Balvenie is a Speyside whisky located in Dufftown, Scotland, owned by William Grant & Sons; other brands in the portfolio include Glenfiddich, Tullamore D.E.W. and the Monkey Shoulder among several others.

  • Balvenie 12 Year Old Doublewood earned the Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Aberlour 12 Double Cask$61
Balvenie 12 DoubleWood$74

Aberlour 12 vs Balvenie 12: Which is better?

Balvenie 12 is an easier drinker than Aberlour

WhiskeyAberlour 12Balvenie 12
  • Balvenie is a fine, easy and smooth dram that drinks incredibly easy. A little too easy for my taste but this is the perfect dram for those who value smoothness and the right level of sweetness.

  • Aberlour is a little bit warm, with a rich charred oak note, providing a tastier malt making a better choice for folks like me that enjoy a bit of harshness in their drinks.

Both Aberlour 12 and Balvenie 12 are solid drams and among the best 12 year single malts that you can buy today, so you can’t go wrong with any of these whiskies.

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