Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Scotch – Review

Glenfiddich 12 Year Old ScotchGlenfiddich 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

80 Proof

Price Point: $30 – $40 for 750 ML

Distiller: The Glenfiddich Distillery



I chanced upon Glenfiddich back in November of last year.  I was shopping for my wife for her birthday, and was browsing the Scotch section of the liquor store for something we had not previously tried.  I noticed a box set for Glenfiddich 12 Year Old, complete with a 750 ML bottle, a tasting notes diary, and a Glencairn crystal nosing glass (the same one pictured in this post).  It was relatively inexpensive, so I took a risk and bought it.  If I didn’t enjoy the whisky, at least I would get the other two trinkets out of it.



The nose on this whisky is kind of boring.  There’s some oak, but it’s just kind of toned down.  It seems kind of like a reserved little brother of Glenlivet 12 Year Old.

If the nose was underwhelming, the taste is . . . also kind of underwhelming.  There’s some oak in there initially with a little leather to make things interesting.  No noticeable peat or fruit or anything else that I enjoy in a good Scotch.

The finish is brief.  Comparatively, it shouldn’t be any surprise after the nose and taste.


Rating & Recommendations

Glenfiddich 12 Year Old is really not my kind of Scotch.  Unfortunately, I have to give this Scotch a rating of 71 out of 100.

I still don’t recommend ever mixing Scotch with anything, but you’re probably safe adding some ice to this one if that’s your thing.

I’m really not a fan of Glenfiddich 12 Year Old.  I have tried the 15 and 18 Year Old expressions, and they absolutely improve on this one, so don’t judge the distillery too harshly.




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    • Charles Shaulis on February 19, 2013 at 5:18 pm
    • Reply

    Good afternoon, Ryan. After watching the CBS Sunday Morning episode on “The Secret of Scotland’s Islay Malt Whiskys” in December, I began researching Scottish single malt whisky. I’ve always been a Kentucky straight bourbon and Tennessee whiskey drinker, and never developed a taste for Scottish whisky, mostly because all I had ever sampled were blends, rather than single malts. Recently, I started buying Highland, Islay, and Speyside single malts to try. I live in Maine, where the Number One State Drink for last 20 years in a row has been Allen’s Coffee Brandy. If you don’t believe me, look it up. It’s been said that 90 percent of the domestic violence cases in this state involve a bottle of Allen’s Coffee Brandy. Needless to say, I’m somewhat limited in single malt Scottish whisky selection to what sells best in Maine and across the border in New Hampshire. I purchased the Dalmore 12 year old expression as my first foray into Highland single malts, with the Edradour 10 year old, Glenmorangie Original 10 year old, and Highland Park 12 year old expressions on my “next-to-try” list. After reading several articles about the Islay “peat monster” tastings, I have decided to work my way up the peat & smoke chain, starting with the non-peated Bunnahabhain 12 year old (which I believe is better on the rocks) and Bruichladdich Rocks (which I believe is better neat). The Bowmore 12 year old, Caol Ila 12 year old, and Laphroaig 10 year old expressions are on my “next-to-try” list, saving the Ardbeg 10 year old for last. This brings me to the Speysides. I have purchased the Balvenie Doublewood 12 year old and Cardhu 12 year old expressions, and have to say that the Cardhu is the smoothest of all the Scottish single malts I have tried so far. I have two Glenfiddich expressions on my “next-to-try” list: the 12 year old Special Reserve and the 15 year old Solera Reserve. My question to you is this: Are the Glenfiddich 12 year old and 12 year old Special Reserve expressions the same? I’d much rather spend my money on something I’m going to enjoy. Thanks for the help. Chuck

      • Ryan on February 20, 2013 at 6:33 pm
      • Reply

      Hi Charles.

      That’s an interesting question. After a little research, I have found that Glenfiddich labeled its 12 Year Old as “Special Reserve” until the year 2000. Since then, they have dropped the suffix and just label it as the 12 Year Old. So unless you’re purchasing a bottle from 13+ years ago, you’re only going to find the 12 Year Old. Same whisky, though.

      Thanks for the comment!


    • Charles Shaulis on February 21, 2013 at 8:05 pm
    • Reply

    Good evening, Ryan. Thanks for the reply. I just pulled up the Maine Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations web site. How would you like to be in charge of that bureaucracy? Please indulge me while I give you a short history lesson on this illustrious state bureau. Maine is one of 19 states that regulates alcoholic beverages within its borders. By controlling these products, the State of Maine is the only entity that may bring liquor into the state. The State of Maine signed a 10-year lease with the Maine Beverage Company in 2004. This company is responsible for warehousing and delivery of “distilled spirits and fortified wines” to agency stores throughout Maine. Despite its name, the Maine Beverage Company is not a Maine-based company. It’s a partnership between the Martignetti Companies of Norwood, Massachusetts., and New York-based private equity group Lindsay Goldberg. It subcontracts the work to Augusta-based Pine State Trading Company. The listing and pricing of distilled spirits are determined by the Bureau with assistance of the State Liquor & Lottery Commission. The Maine Beverage Company’s Quarterly Price Book, dated 02/01/2013, specifically lists a 750-mL bottle of “Glenfiddich Special Reserve 12 Yr” at $45.99, along with a 1-L bottle at $52.99 and a 1.75-L bottle at $79.99. The New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet web site just lists “Glenfiddich 12 Year Old Scotch,” with a 750-mL bottle priced at $44.99. That said, I am inclined to agree with you, since the Glenfiddich web site makes no reference to a 12-year-old “Special Reserve.” I plan to visit my local Bootleggers Beverage Warehouse here in Topsham tomorrow to see exactly what Glenfiddich expressions they have in stock. If there is a “Special Reserve,” I’ll let you know. If not, I plan on taking your advice and dropping the Glenfiddich 12 year old from my “next-to-try” list and replacing it with a Glenfiddich Solera Reserve 15 year old. One last item: Is there a location on this web site where I can have a general whisky/whiskey discussion with you, or should I stay with this location. Thanks. Chuck

      • Ryan on February 22, 2013 at 5:08 pm
      • Reply

      Hi Chuck.

      Definitely let me know what you find out.

      For general whiskey discussions with me, feel free to shoot me an email at



        • Charles Shaulis on February 23, 2013 at 1:00 am
        • Reply

        Hello, Ryan. As promised, I visited my local Bootleggers Beverage Warehouse here in Topsham today to see what Glenfiddich expressions they had in stock. There was no 12 year old “Special Reserve.” I also made a run to the NH Liquor & Wine Outlet in Portsmouth this afternoon – they carry the same generic 12 year old expression. Its funny – if you navigate to the web site, type “Glenfiddich” in the Select Whisky drop down list box and scroll down about 1/3 of the page, you’ll see a link to GLENFIDDICH SPECIAL RESERVE 12 YEAR SINGLE MALT SCOTCH. Clicking the BUY NOW-USA link takes you to the Master of Malt web site that lists the same Glenfiddich 12 year old that I saw today. Go figure. Anyway, based on what I read on your (and several other) Scotch whisky web sites, I believe that I’ll still drop the Glenfiddich 12 year old from my “next-to-try” list and spend a little more money to move up to the Solera Reserve 15 year old. Are you planning to sample it anytime soon? Sláinte. Chuck

          • Ryan on February 23, 2013 at 10:04 am
          • Reply

          I have had the 12 and 21 Year Old Glenfiddich expressions, but not the 15 Year Old as of yet. I suppose I’ll get around to it one of these days…


    • Jenn on April 10, 2013 at 7:07 pm
    • Reply

    Now I REALLY wish I had read this BEFORE I dropped $40 on a bottle of this. Granted, I KNOW there are worse scotches out there, but even my novice to the scotch world palette thought the flavor was very weak. Oh well… maybe if I let it age in the bottle it’ll be better? LOL

    • Larry on July 10, 2013 at 2:47 pm
    • Reply

    I bought a bottle of Glenfiddich “unblended” 10-year old (yes, 10, not 12, or 15, or any other number) on a visit to Scotland in 1978. I’m so not a drinker, it’s never been opened. For whatever it’s worth, the label says “Distilled in Pot Stills.” I understand that scotch isn’t like wine when it comes to aging in the bottle, but is there anything special to know about this scotch? Or is it likely as boring as the bottle you first tasted?

    1. Hi Larry.

      Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure if the same Glenfiddich was being distilled and bottled in 1978. Likely, it’s pretty similar to what is reviewed above.



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