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Balvenie 12 vs Glenlivet 15: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Balvenie 12 vs Glenlivet 15 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Balvenie 12 DoubleWood

balvenie-12-doublewood
NoseHoney, toffee, vanilla, pear
PalateCaramel, apple, citrus
FinishSpicy oak, roasted nuts
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkNeat or add water
Similar toBalvenie 14, Macallan 12

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 Doublewood 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 Scotch 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 miss a proper bite to remind you that you’re drinking whisky.

I’ve included the Balvenie 12 among the best 12 year Single Malts you can buy today!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this Scotch:

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

Glenlivet 15 French Oak Reserve

glenlivet-15
NoseVanilla, orange peel, caramel
PalateNutty flavor, caramel, vanilla, oak spice
FinishLong, oak, almond
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toGlenfiddich 15, Green Label

The Glenlivet 15 offers a nice sweet aroma with hints of vanilla and caramel, along a bit of citrus peel.

On the mouth it feels creamy providing a good mouthfeel. Flavor is smooth and rich in caramel and vanilla, with a noticeable nutty hint and a pleasant hit of oak spice, with nothing overwhelming or off-putting.

The finish is where this malt shines as it has smooth and lingering flavors with some nice oak and spicy hints and pleasing warmth on the tail.

The Glenlivet 15 offers good value within the Glenlivet family as it is an improvement over its 12 YO and is even better than the 18YO.

Those two are overly smooth but quite boring, frankly. The 15 YO is a smooth and yet flavorful malt, striking a nice balance between spicy and sweet notes and a bit of warmth on the tail that sits well.

This whisky would be even better if it had a higher proof but Glenlivet like to water-down its malts a bit.

The Glenlivet 15 is first aged for 12 years in ex-bourbon barrels and for 3 years in French Limousin Oak. Those with expertise in casks ensure that the large-grain and tannic wood of these barrels “ensures a clear color and an impressive expression in all spirits”.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Glenlivet 15:

  • Aged for 12 years in ex-bourbon barrels and for 3 years in French Limousin Oak. Those with expertise in casks ensure that the large-grain and tannic wood of these barrels “ensures a clear color and an impressive expression in all spirits”.
  • Glenlivet is the best-selling single malt whisky in the United States.

Balvenie 12 vs Glenlivet 15: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Balvenie 12$63
Glenlivet 15$67

Balvenie 12 vs Glenlivet 15: Which is better?

Glenlivet 15 is a more satisfying whisky

WhiskeyBalvenie 12Glenlivet 15
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • I prefer the Glenlivet 15 over the Balvenie 12 since despite the fact that both are smooth malts, the Glenlivet is richer in flavors as it offers a nice hit of spice and pleasing warmth on the tail making a flavorful yet smooth dram.
  • The Balvenie 12 is overly smooth and quite good, though, but it lacks complexity, flavors are a bit muted lacking a distinctive tasting note; I prefer its 14 YO sibling by a wide margin.

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