The Glenlivet 12 year old

12 years old, 40% ABV, American and European Oak, Speyside, Scotland

When I was putting together my Christmas whisky tasting kits, I wanted to start everyone off with a really approachable, classic single malt – to provide them with something of a base line I suppose.

Realising I didn’t seem to have anything that met the criteria that well, I tracked down this little 200ml (20cl) bottle of The Glenlivet 12 year old. There happened to be a couple drams worth left after I’d put the kits together, so I thought I’d review it!

Glenlivet 12

Despite being a mini version, the bottle and label design holds true to the 700ml version of the 12 year old – just in miniature form.

Glenlivet 12 notes

Just like the tasting notes found on the back of the 18 year old I reviewed a little earlier, there are some notes on the back of this mini box for the 12 year old. Again, I’m not sure I completely agree with all of them, but they are a nice touch and fun to compare to.

Did you  know…

In my review of the 18 year old, I mentioned that I was looking into the origins of The Glenlivet’s thistle motif. I reached out to some people that work at the distillery’s visitors centre and asked them about the origin of the thistle logo and it turns out that they’re not entirely sure why it’s there either! All I can tell you is that it appeared in the 1970’s and has been there ever since.

It does seem to be a common theme among many business names and logos in Moray (where the distillery is located), so perhaps there’s some connection there?


I got a big hit of green apples – but in an apple cider kind of way. Quite drying, with some citrus and a light sweetness.  The more I nosed this, the more I kept thinking that it reminded me of a sauvignon blanc – it’s a very delicate nose. When left to sit in the glass, the nose does sweeten up a bit and those crisp dry cider notes fall away a bit.


Quite thin feeling in the mouth, with sweet and citrusy notes immediately apparent. These were followed by some hints of vanilla and a bit of spicy bitterness – almost like citrus fruit pith.


Quite short, but also quite a pleasant finish. As the finish fades, I got some stronger vanilla notes (which were nice) and some oaky bitter spice at the front of the tongue, right towards the end.


This expression is matured in a mixture of cask types, including American and European Oak. It’s fairly one dimensional and not overly complex in flavour, but like all Glenlivet’s I’ve tasted, it’s a good quality, reliable whisky. A really pleasant, light, pre-dinner dram.

One thought on “The Glenlivet 12 year old

  1. Pingback: Nikka whisky tasting | The Whisky Ledger

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