Whisky Showdown! Glenlivet 12 vs. Nikka Taketsuru 12

I have already pitted the Yamazaki 12 against the Glenlivet 12 and, more recently, the Yamazaki 12 against the Nikka Taketsuru 12. It is now time to taste test the Glenlivet 12 against the Nikka 12. This is a battle for third place within this group as the Yamazaki was the winner in both of the aforementioned showdowns.

The Nikka is a Japanese classic, bottled at 40% abv but packing a lot of flavour into its 12 years. The Glenlivet is a longtime favourite Scotch of both casual and experienced whisky lovers alike. The latter is also bottled at 40% abv.

Both look similar, though the Nikka hints more at amber than gold.

On the nose, the Glenlivet’s unmistakeably soft, sweet hues prove to be a nice welcome. However, the matchup is clearly in the Nikka’s favour as its bolder aroma of fruit, vanilla, honey, and citrus shames the Glenlivet into submission.

On the palate, the Glenlivet’s trademark sweet apple flavours provide much needed warmth on a cold winter’s day. The Nikka’s flavour profile differs significantly. It’s a deeper, darker taste that fills the senses with some of the same basic traits of the Glenlivet but mixes these with oak and nut. The Glenlivet is obviously sweeter overall but the Nikka is more complex. The Nikka has a more grainy texture as well, while the Glenlivet is smoother on the tongue. I enjoy both for their respective merits and I’m finding this tough to call. If forced, I would give a slight edge to the Nikka.

The finish on the Glenlivet is acceptably long and fruity. The Nikka is smokier, contains more oak, and dark nuts. I pick up some faint pineapple notes deeper into the finish with the Nikka. The length of the finish of the Nikka is about the same as the Glenlivet.

Overall, without considering the relative costs of the two whiskies in question, I prefer the Nikka by a small margin. The Nikka is much more interesting on the nose and the finish but both have pleasant tastes despite their differences in this regard.