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Glenfarclas 12 vs Glenlivet 12: Discover the Better!

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

Glenfarclas 12

  • Nose: Sherry, honey, toasted barley.
  • Palate: Banana bread, melted butter, vanilla, caramel, spice.
  • Finish: Lemon, oak spice, citrus zest.

The nose is quite pleasing as it has a high sherry aroma, followed by hints of honey, toasted barley and just a bit of alcohol, but nothing severe.

On the palate, Glenfarclas feels creamy providing a nice mouthfeel. Flavor hits with banana bread, along melted butter, vanilla, caramel and a touch of oak spice bringing a light bitter note.

The finish is a bit short, with the oak spice hitting somewhat harder, along lemon and citrus zest and pleasing warmth on the way down.

Glenfarclas 12 is a good entry-level bottle to Sherried Whisky.

Glenfarclas has a classic whisky taste, light on the palate, not too sweet, not overly complex, with a short-lived finish, a bit spicy, and with a proper bite to remind you that you are drinking whisky.

It drinks better when adding a dash of water, as it releases more sweetness.

Overall, Glenfarclas is a solid mid-range 12 year single malt offering a pleasing dram and an introductory bottle to sherried Scotch. It makes a good sipper.

In 2006 it won ‘Best Sherried Whisky’ in the Single Malt World Cup which talks about how good Glenfarclas is.

Glenfarclas has been in business since 1791 and is one of the very few distilleries that remain fully independent as is still owned by the descendants of the founder.

Learn how it compares to the Aberlour 12!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this whisky:

  • Bottled at 86 proof (43% ABV).

  • Aged for 12 years in oak casks used once for Oloroso sherry; this is sweet, full-bodied sherry wine from Spain.

  • This release was previously aged for 10 years.

  • Glenfarclas is a Speyside whisky, located in the northeast of Scotland surrounding the River Spey.

  • Glenfarclas still uses fire-direct distills as opposed to steam-filled unit heaters which has become the norm in the industry.

  • The six stills at Glenfarclas are the biggest in Speyside.

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.

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

Glenfarclas 12 vs Glenlivet 12: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Glenfarclas 12$60
Glenlivet 12$51

Glenfarclas 12 vs Glenlivet 12: Which is better?

Glenfarclas is a more rewarding malt than the Glenlivet

WhiskeyGlenfarclas 12Glenlivet 12
  • Personally, I prefer the Glenfarclas over the Glenlivet as it shows a faint sherry note and a proper bite at the end; the Glenlivet is too “plain vanilla” for my taste.

  • The Glenlivet 12 makes a better choice for those new to single malts or that put a premium on smoothness over any other feature.

  • Those more experienced in Scotch will find a better dram on the Glenfarclas before moving to the sherry bombs or the peaty whiskies from Islay.

Speyside Whisky

Speyside is the most densely populated whisky region in the world. These whiskies are known for having low peaty notes and being quite fruity. Most Speyside distillers are very fond of aging in sherry casks.

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