Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Review: The Glenlivet 18 yr Old Single Malt Scotch

Updated tasting note on November 6, 2016
Glenlivet scotch is the second best selling single malt scotch in the world. With that kind of world wide market share and popularity, one has to wonder if it is any good. I am here to report that this distillery makes a pretty good 18 yr old single malt.

Reasonable considering it is an 18 year old single malt.


Cork stopper.



Combination of first fill and second fill American (ex-bourbon) and European oak (ex-sherry) casks.

Nose (undiluted)
Concentrated vanilla, aromatic sherry, orange blossoms, cherry blossoms.

Palate (undiluted)
Up front spiced oranges, honey, fuzzy pears, then a herbal note, caraway seed or mineral like quality followed by sherry and oak.

Finish (undiluted)
Dominated by lumbering oak that is so spicy that it becomes bitter but not to the point of astringency.

General Impressions
This is good value for money. Not the best single malt but not the greatest in the 18year old category. Oban 14yrs is similar in taste but is superior.

In order to get rid of the bitterness or grapefruit pith notes you need to add a little water.  The water makes it more creamy, brings out milk chocolate and eliminates the bitterness referenced above.

Years ago, I do not recall the spiciness of the oak moving towards bitterness.  In the past this malt had more of a milk chocolate profile.  That has changed.  Water is a must!


Jason Debly

© Jason Debly, 2009 - Present. All rights reserved.


  1. How do I add your site to my Igoogle Homepage?

    Frank Durham

  2. Hi Frank! I have sent you an email. Hope it helps.


  3. I am getting ready to experience single malt scotch for the first time in my 27 years of life. I bought the Glenlivet 18 year and am glad I read this review before trying it.(I hadn't planned on even trying it with water.) Thanks for the review.

  4. Glad to hear you found the review of some help. Another single malt to try for newcomers to single malts would be Cragganmore 12 years.

  5. Thanks Jason - very accurate review. I've just tried it ( a birthday gift) and, with a little water, the finish goes on for ever! I would'nt have tried that without your advice so many thanks.

  6. Glad the water works for you Steve! Glenlivet 18 is a real gem that sadly is overlooked by critics too much.

  7. Right on brother. A real need for ice or water to tone it down and bring out the flavor. Nice review and right on the money

    1. I appreciate reading that my review resonates with your experience! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  8. The Glenlivet 18 was my first scotch, it is very nice. I paid 100 dollars. I am now trying the Cragganmore 12 and is really awesome. Especially for 55 dollars. Prices are in Louisville, KY. for reference point.
    Jason, thanks for all the hard work and awesome reviews. I am really enjoying Scotch. Hope you have a great New Year.

    1. Thank you Russell! Glad to hear my recommendations resonate with you.

  9. I enjoyed reading your review. I definitely prefer the 18 year over the 15 (haven't tried the 12 since having my eyes opened to the world of scotch) - as another review (scotchnoob) pointed out, the 15 seems a bit tepid due to it's 40% ABV, and the 18 doesn't suffer that same fate. I do somewhat miss the green fruit/apple notes from the 15 (and the 12, I hear), but I enjoyed the creamy mouthfeel and spicy oak/sherry notes.

  10. Interesting comments.... I can get the Oban 14 for less than $100 and the Glenlivet 18 sits at $123 .... Oban better value...?

  11. Ok... Currently the supplier has the GL18 same price as the Oban... Both at $99..... Yes or no...??


  12. They are both good malts and I would pay that price in Canada.

    The Glenlivet 18 might be a little more complex.

    Americans laugh at us, but I guess we don't pay for medical attention.

  13. Well... the Oban has just shot up in price by nearly $20.... Think I might give the GL18 a crack.... unless you could think of something else Jason ???
    Oh same here in Australia... No charge in the Public Hospital system.....


  14. I change my mind as often as I change my jocks... And as usual it's about the price... Oban 14 price has dropped nearly $30 ... Done deal. I had xmas gift cards to the exact amount !!! It was meant to be .... Maybe some other time for the GL 18...