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Glenlivet 12 vs Redbreast 12: Which Wins?

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

Glenlivet 12

  • Nose: Toasted cereal, honey, pear
  • Palate: Vanilla, ripe fruit
  • Finish: Short, honey, vanilla
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Neat
  • Similar to: Grangestone 12


The nose is light, with 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 honey and vanilla notes.

Is it good?

The Glenlivet 12 is a smooth whisky with not a hint of harshness, peat, smoke or any complicated note. It’s 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.

If you are new to Scotch whisky or liquors in general, this is a great starting point.

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

Think about whiskies like the Dewar’s to make Rob Roys or other homemade cocktails.

Glenlivet 12 facts:

  • Aged 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.

Redbreast 12

  • Nose: Vanilla, caramel, ginger, orange peel
  • Palate: Ripe fruit, citrus, sherry, baking spice, oak
  • Finish: Baking spice, red fruit
  • Alcohol content: 80 proof (40% ABV)
  • How to drink: Neat
  • Similar to: Glenfiddich 12


The nose brings a rich vanilla note, followed by caramel, a touch of ginger and a tad of orange peel.

On the palate, the Redbreast feels remarkably creamy with a rich texture that invites you to chew it.

Flavor brings ripe fruit up-front, followed by hints of citrus, sherry wine and a good hit of oak.

Finish is long, bringing pleasing warmth, along baking spice and dried fruit.

Is it good?

Redbreast is a fantastic whiskey better than many Scotch Whiskies far better than the average Irish Whiskey such as Jameson or Bushmills and much less the Tullamore DEW.

It strikes a perfect combination between sweet and spicy notes in an incredibly creamy body.

This whiskey drinks nicely neat and doesn’t need neither water nor ice and much less chaser as it goes down dangerously easy.

The price tag seems a bit high but you won’t remember it after a few rounds.

Redbreast 12 facts:

  • The Redbreast is made from malted and unmalted barley.
  • Triple-distilled in copper pot stills to later be aged for 12 years in ex-bourbon and ex-oloroso sherry wine casks.
  • Oloroso is a dry and aromatic style of sherry wine made in Spain renowned for being delicious.
  • 96 points from Whisky Advocate.
  • Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition on four separate occasions.
  • “Irish Whiskey of the Year” at the Irish Whiskey Awards in 2013.

What do Glenlivet and Redbreast have in common?

Both are French as they are owned by Paris-based Pernod Ricard which has a vast portfolio of brands across the industry.

Although one is crafted in Scotland and the other at the Jameson Distillery in Ireland makin them completely different.

What’s the difference between the Glenlivet and the Redbreast?

The Glenlivet is a Single Malt Whisky made exclusively from malted barley while the Redbreast is comprised of grain and malt whiskies.

In general, whiskies made from malted barley are smoother but there are several good blends out there such as the Blue Label that kicks the butt of most Single Malts.

Glenlivet vs Redbreast: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Glenlivet 12$33
Redbreast 12$55

Glenlivet vs Redbreast: Which is better?

The Redbreast is more rewarding pour

WhiskeyGlenlivet Redbreast 12
  • The Glenlivet is an easy drinker and perfect for newbies yet to develop the ability to down complex whiskies.
  • This is the equivalent of plain vanilla ice cream that you can have without giving much of a thought.
  • Redbreast is a stage 2 whiskey as it is yet quite smooth but more complex and layered providing a more interesting experience.
  • It seems a bit pricey for an Irish Whiskey as they tend to be not that good, but the flavor makes up for it entirely delivering a solid whiskey.