Glenlivet is the Coors to Glenfiddich's Budweiser; that is, the number two common brand that is stocked in every bar. I do not often go out to a bar or order Scotch at restaurants, but the few times I have asked what is available, the list has always begun with Glenfiddich and Glenlivet.
As one might expect from such a pedigree, Glenlivet 12 is an overwhelmingly average Speysider. The oversized 1.75 L bottle pictured above was purchased in New Hampshire as a value Scotch, with the price averaging out to about $24 per 750 mL. A little sweet and very malty, but otherwise non-assertive. Non-sherried Speysiders tend to impress me with one or more of fruit notes, honey notes, or floral notes. Glenlivet 12 is short on the fruit and honey but heavier on the floral.
If I were to go to a bar and just ask for "Scotch", I would expect the bartender to give me something that tastes like this. Overall, pleasant but fairly boring (perhaps the greatest sin a Scotch can make). This bottle has served me well as a bottom-shelfer to reach for when I just want a drink or to use as a baseline for appreciating better Scotches. However, I probably will not make a repeat purchase, given the range and quality of other value Scotches. And again, bottling at 40 % is pretty weak. 80 points (B-).
Other Glenlivet reviews:
The Whisky Exchange.