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Glenlivet 18 vs Glenlivet 21: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Glenlivet 18 vs Glenlivet 21 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Glenlivet 18

NoseRipe fruit, apricot, caramel
PalateOrange, vanilla, baking spice
FinishLong, oak, dried fruit, cinnamon
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toGlenfiddich 18, Macallan 18, Blue Label

Glenlivet is renowned for its smoothness and the 18 YO does not disappoint.

The nose is sweet and fruity, with a rich note of apricot and caramel.

The mouthfeel is overly smooth and harmless with a hint of sweet orange and vanilla and some baking spice coming behind.

The finish is long but dry, rich in oak, dried fruit and cinnamon, with pleasing warmth coming late to the party.

This malt is nicely balanced and smooth, but quite light lacking in character making a somewhat boring dram for an 18 YO as it lacks character or memorable tasting notes.

This is an easy sipper, free of smoke and a good choice for those who prefer smooth drams without strong aftertaste.

It drinks nicely neat, water does very little for it as it’s good as is.

The 18 YO is aged in a combination of both American and European oak.

Glenlivet 21

NoseSherry, honey, oak
PalateHoney, caramel, coffee, oak
FinishMedium, honey, oak, smoke
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toRoyal Salute 21

The Glenlivet 21 aka “The Archive” blends whiskies aged for at least 21 years although there are some 40 year old whiskies in the blend.

It was aged using a combination of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks providing an interesting combination of tasting notes to this malt.

The nose is full of sherry and honey, followed by a pleasant touch of oak.

On the palate, the 21 YO feels viscous providing a good mouthfeel. Flavor brings honey and caramel sweetness up-front, with a note of espresso coffee and oak coming behind giving balance to the whisky.

The finish has a medium length, with more honey which is the main note from start to finish, along oak and a very light note of smoke making this is a very satisfying dram.

The Glenlivet 21 might seem pricey when compared to the Royal Salute 21 but this a better whisky as it’s just as smooth but more flavorful as the Salute has muted flavors making a somewhat dull dram.

Also keep in mind that the Royal Salute is a blend an the Glenlivet 21 is a single malt whisky crafted at a single distillery.

When compared to the Johnnie Walker Blue Label the Glenlivet 21 delivers more value as the latter provides an age statement and is a Single Malt as opposed to a blend of whiskies made from grain and malt as the Blue Label.

Glenlivet 18 vs 21: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Glenlivet 18$135
Glenlivet 21$290

Glenlivet 18 vs Glenlivet 21: Which is better?

The 21 YO is a step-up over the 18 YO

WhiskeyGlenlivet 18Glenlivet 21
  • The 18 YO is just too smooth, with no particular flavors standing out making me prefer other 18 Year malts or even other Glenlivet releases such as the 15 Year which I consider to be the best Glenlivet for the money.
  • The Glenlivet is not a bad whisky, just plain boring with no distinctive character.
  • The 21 comes at a much higher price tag, but is a more robust and flavorful whisky delivering a great experience from nose to finish.

If you want to consider affordable option read my post with the best 12 year Single Malts where you can find a vast array of options.

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