The Glenlivet distillery is old. Very old. It was producing whisky at a time when trains were hot new technology, leeches were considered the best cure for haemorrhoids and Beethoven was top of the charts. With almost 200 years of experience under their belts, it’s clear these guys know a thing or two about whisky. And leeches, probably.
Gardens smells are front and centre: wet grass, herbal, minty. This can be a little overpowering – it takes quite an effort push through and find the fruit smells (pears, raisins) with some wax, pepper and toffee way at the back. Dark chocolate comes through after a while.
Apples, liquorice, grass and straw. Malty and oily, with caramel-sweetness on the back of the tongue. The aftertaste becomes slightly sour, developing into a pleasant bitterness. Eventually your palate is left feeling nice and earthy – like you just spent the last hour chewing on a chunk of mossy bark.
Tastes more strongly of grass, sawdust and pine. An unpleasant soilyness, and lavender. Neat please!
The Glenlivet 12 is extremely similar to its equally aged Glenfiddich rival – in my mind, so close as to be near indistinguishable. In a direct comparison I couldn’t tell which glass was which – same colour, extremely similar nose and near identical taste. But this isn’t a bad thing. What you get is an easy-going, clean and fresh Speyside single malt you can enjoy any time of day, at a great price. Get whichever one is cheaper 😉