Single malt whisky - tasting notes

20 Jul 2011

Glenfiddich 12 Years

Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Glenfiddich

When you ask someone to name a brand of single malt whisky, they’ll probably say Glenfiddich (unless they think Chivas Regal or Johnnie Walker is a single malt). Glenfiddich 12 years old is the entry malt, easily found in supermarkets around the globe and one of the most popular single malts.

I had this several times before I seriously got interested in whisky. So apparently it wasn’t good enough to really spark a fire – I had to wait until Lagavulin 16 and Suntory Hibiki for that to happen.


Glenfiddich 12 yearsGlenfiddich 12 yo (40%, OB 2010)

Nose: fresh, with pears everywhere and a malty, cereal centre. Cooked apples. Freshly sawn wood. Some lime, hints of white grapes. Buttercups. Soft vanilla. Mouth: rather light and bittersweet. There’s a sugary side (honey, vanilla, apple juice) as well as a bitterish side (apple seeds, nutmeg, oak juice). A light sugar coated nuttiness and a faint spicy wave. All of this fairly muted and too mono-dimensional to be really interesting. Not much evolution either. Finish: not too long, on apple cider and a few spices.

You can say Glenfiddich 12 is uninspiring and a little flat but on the other hand it’s a widely available product without flaws. I would even say it’s slightly underrated if you think about the price: around € 25 or € 30 for one litre. Of course you could also hunt down one of the quality blends, like Bailie Nicol Jarvie, or a higher strength, entry-level bourbon like Buffalo Trace for the same price and get something more interesting.

Score: 76/100

Glenfiddich 12 Years 2 Ruben Luyten 2011-07-20
  • Gal Granov

    it’s not a bad dram. funny, i Just attended a GF event the other day at the British Ambassador to Israel, where they were celebrating the Snow Phoenix, and then we tasted 4 GF.
    the 12 with ice on that very hot day was enjoyable enough (yes, ice, i know, it’s a sin but it was 30 C and 80% humidity. one can not drink a whisky like that, and 12 with ice is not a waste )
    we also had the 14,15,and the 21.
    most people (around 50) loved the 15 solera, and i do think it’s a solid dram. the 21 was interesting.

    The phoenix is not bad, but as all bottles were auctioned (yes yes, dont ask why), the highest bidder paid 2300 NIS (around 450 EUR) for that bottle!
    i am sure you can pick one at 60 EUR in stores in europe…

    what do u say Ruben?

  • Ruben

    You can’t pick up the Snow Phoenix for 60 euro in Europe, at least not any more. Shops with stock now sell it for 125 euro. I haven’t tried it so I can’t really compare. I can imagine it’s better than the standard Glenfiddichs but with all the hype and higher prices my interest is gone.
    I quite like the 15yo Solera Reserve as well, it’s good quality for money. But still not something I would actively recommend to serious whisky lovers.

  • Gal Granov

    I saw it online for GBP 60 this week…
    if you taste it, i’d be interested in what you think…

  • Gal Granov
  • Michael

    Snow Phoenix – C$90 and plenty of it in Ontario. Not too many takers so far.

  • Duffer_dk

    You can get SP as far down as 50 £ i the UK. It would be fun to taste, but then again – a whole bottle!

  • stewge

    I have a bottle of Glennfiddich special reserve from 1988 still in the tin. What is it worth? Should I wait another 20 years to sell it? I don’t drink the fire water.

  • Ruben

    You can find an indication for your specific version on WhiskyAuction but don’t expect high profits on such a common whisky. It’s not a rare dram, nor an outstanding dram so even after 20 years there won’t be much more interest.

  • Paulo Sousa



November 2015
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Coming up

  • Lindores 2015 festival bottling
  • Amrut 2009 (cask #2701)
  • Glenlivet 1981 (#9468 for TWE)
  • Lagavulin Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Talisker Distillers Edition (2015)
  • Laphroaig 32 Year Old
  • Glen Grant 65yo 1950 cask #2747 for Wealth Solutions
  • Mortlach 1959/1960 (G&M Royal Wedding)

1930 notes by Ruben

WhiskyNotes - Ruben LuytenThis blog is my personal collection of impressions, written while searching for the ultimate single malt whisky.