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Glenlivet 12 vs Black Label: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Glenlivet 12 vs Johnnie Walker Black Label in this in-depth comparison and decide which Scotch is better for You!

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 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 12 as a mixer but I would rather use a cheaper option and a bit more peppery to add a kick to my homemade cocktail. Use something like the Monkey Shoulder for cocktails and save your hard-earned money.

Learn how it compares to the Glenlivet 14!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Glenlivet:

  • Bottled 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 was founded in 1824 and has operated almost continuously ever since.

  • This brand is part of the French-based Pernod Ricard portfolio that includes several brands including Chivas Regal.

Johnnie Walker Black Label

  • Nose: Rich in vanilla, citrus zest, nectarine.
  • Palate: Smoky, roasted malt, caramel, vanilla and raisins.
  • Finish: Long, fruity, peppery, peat.

On the nose, there is vanilla off the gate, followed by orange zest, nectarine and a whiff of alcohol.

On the palate, body feels somewhat thin lacking in texture. Johnnie Walker Black Label has a mildly sweet taste, with a flavor rich in peat. There are also hints of caramel and vanilla coming coming late to the party.

The finish has some peat, black pepper, salt, caramel and a bit of warmth but is not harsh.

Overall, the Johnnie Walker Black Label is a reliable whisky, striking a good balance of smoke and sweetness, with peat smoke and charred oak barrel smoke.

Quite smooth but with a warm finish that does not overwhelm. Nevertheless, on a lot of ice as it is commonly served it totally hits the spot.

The Black Label serves as an introductory bottle to smoky Scotch Whisky, those with a hint coming from the peats used to dry the malted barley.

If you are curious about Scotch smoky whisky this is a good starting point due to its affordable price before trying the peaty monster from Islay.

Overall, Black Label is one of the best age statement blends in the market in its current price range and a good choice for an “everyday Scotch”.

Learn how it compares to the Johnnie Walker Red Label!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Black Label:

  • Bottled at 80 proof (40% ABV).

  • The Black Label is a blend of 40 whiskies made from grain and malts aged for at least 12 years from all over Scotland.

  • The blend includes peaty whiskies from Islay, sweet and salty whiskies from Speyside along some malts coming from the Scottish Highlands.

  • Johnnie Walker is the best-selling whisky brand across the globe.

What’s the difference between Glenlivet 12 and the Black Label?

Glenlivet is a Single Malt and Black Label a blend

  • The Glenlivet 12 is a Single Malt Scotch, that is, a whisky made exclusively from malted barley and crafted at a single distillery.

  • The Black Label is a blend of 40 whiskies of made from malts and grains, crafted at diverse distilleries across Scotland.

Being single malt does necessarily make a whisky better but more expensive as malted barley is more expensive than grains.

Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Glenlivet 12$51
Johnnie Walker Black Label$40

Glenlivet 12 vs Black Label: Which is better?

Glenlivet is the easier drinker

WhiskeyGlenlivet 12Black Label
  • The Glenlivet might well be one of the easiest drinking whiskies in the world, hence its popularity.

  • No harsh or off-putting notes making an overly easy whisky perfectly suited for newbies.

  • Johnnie Walker Black Label is a different type of whisky. It has a moderate smoky note making it more challenging yet more rewarding.

  • This is a better whisky for a well-traveled aficionado.

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