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Balvenie 12 vs Glenlivet 12: Discover the Better!

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

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 Oban 14!

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.

  • Balvenie 12 Year Old Doublewood earned the Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Balvenie is a Speyside Whisky owned by William Grant & Sons who also holds Glenfiddich, Monkey Shoulder among several other brands.

Glenlivet 12

  • Nose: Toasted cereal, honey and pear.
  • Palate: Creamy and rich in vanilla notes along some fruit.
  • Finish: Short-lived ending with honey and vanilla notes.

The nose is faint, with hints of notes of toasted cereal, honey and pear.

On the palate, the Glenlivet 12 is creamy and overly smooth, with vanilla flavor and fruity notes.

Finish is quite short with more sweet and vanilla notes.

The Glenlivet 12 is smooth with not a hint of harshness, peat, smoke or any complicated note. Its mellow and rich in notes of vanilla and honey.

This might well be the easiest 12 year single malt Scotch to drink as it doesn’t have neither smoky nor oaky notes, although it lacks complexity or any memorable flavor. Let’s call it a “plain vanilla” whisky.

This is a whisky that you can easily drink neat or straight, but if you want to make it better it add a splash water.

Just a few drops of water will open-up the whisky allowing rich floral notes to emerge enhancing sweetness. This is how Scots drink whisky.

You could use the Glenlivet as a mixer but I would rather use a cheaper option and a bit more peppery to add a kick to my homemade cocktail. Think about whiskies like the Dewar’s for such purposes.

Learn how it compares to the Glenfiddich 12!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Glenlivet:

  • Botttled at 80 proof (40% ABV).

  • The Glenlivet 12 was aged for a dozen years using mostly ex-bourbon and European oak casks.

  • This distiller uses wooden washbacks to ferment the mash. This adds a characteristic flavor to the whisky as opposed to fermenting in steel.

  • Earned Gold at the International Spirits Challenge.

  • Glenlivet is owned by Pernod-Ricard, the French drinks conglomerate who also holds a zillion brands including Chivas Regal.

Balvenie 12 vs Glenlivet 12: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Balvenie 12 DoubleWood$74
Glenlivet 12$51

Balvenie 12 vs Glenlivet 12: Which is better?

Glenlivet is better for newbies

WhiskeyBalvenie 12Glenlivet 12
  • If you are a newbie with no experience whatsoever in single malts and limited experience in liquors in general you will be better off with the Glenlivet 12 which a “plain vanilla” whisky.

  • It is quite easy to sip and affordable making a solid option for those who are yet to be baptized in single malt Scotch.

  • Balvenie is a nicer sipper, perfectly balanced and incredibly easy to drink but due to its price it is better suited for those who could afford paying a premium for a velvety smooth dram.

If you want to consider further options look into my list of the best 12 year Scotch Whiskies where there are several options to consider.

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