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Bowmore 12 vs Glenlivet 12: Discover the Better!

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

Bowmore 12

NoseSmoke, pineapple, orange
PalateRipe fruit, honey, vanilla, iodine
FinishShort, smoke, mineral, charred oak
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toTalisker 10, Ardbeg 10

Nose hits with a strong smoky note from the peats used to dry the malted barley at first, followed by a hint of pineapple and citrus.

On the palate, Bowmore 12 has a medium body providing a pleasant mouthfeel. On the first sip I get ripe fruit and honey, along vanilla, a touch of iodine typical of Islay Whisky and just a tad of smoke.

The finish is short, with a subtle hint of smoke, a mineral note and charred oak from the bourbon barrels in which it was aged.

This is a good pour for those who want a subtle hint of smoke as this whisky is quite restrained when compared to other Islay releases as Bowmore only uses half as much peat to dry the malted barley.

Bowmore 12 lacks proof as it would be immensely better at 90 proof (45% ABV) and the finish is a bit short but a pleasant sip nonetheless, as it does not have any off-putting note and doesn’t feel hot providing a good experience.

I’ve included the Bowmore among the best 12 year single malts you can buy today!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this Scotch

  • Aged for a dozen years using ex-sherry and ex-bourbon barrels.
  • Gold medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Gold at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2013.
  • Bowmore is one of the few distilleries that continues to hand-turn, malt, and peat its own barley.
  • Bowmore was founded in 1779 being the oldest distillery of Islay and the second oldest in Scotland.

Glenlivet 12

NoseToasted cereal, honey, pear
PalateVanilla, ripe fruit
FinishShort, honey, vanilla
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks
Similar toGlenfiddich 12, Macallan 12

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 or J&B for such purposes.

Learn how it compares to the Founder’s Reserve!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Glenlivet:

  • 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.
  • Glenlivet is the best-selling single malt in the United States.
  • Earned Gold at the International Spirits Challenge.
  • Owned by Pernod Ricard, along several other other brands including Jameson.

Bowmore vs Glenlivet: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Bowmore 12$63
Glenlivet 12$51

Bowmore 12 vs Glenlivet 12: Which is better?

Glenlivet is the easier to drink

WhiskeyBowmore 12Glenlivet 12
  • The Glenlivet 12 is a better option for absolut newbies to Scotch whisky or liquors in general as it does not have any harshness or off-putting note; this is a basic “plain vanilla” easy sipper.
  • The Bowmore 12 is a more interesting dram making a better choice for those who already have experience in Scotch whisky and are curious about peaty whisky but are not ready to tackle the heavyweights in this category such as the Ardbeg or Laphroaig that demand a more knowledgeable drinker.

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