husband, father, whisky lover, blogger, freelance whisky writer, and head of the New Jersey Whiskey Society & leading the USBG NJ efforts...currently the New Jersey Whisky Ambassador for Diageo & therefore leave the recent writing duties to guest bloggers, primarily that Bourbon loving fella named Gerard

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Balvenie 12 Year Old Doublewood

Environment:

I have purchased this whisky twice, and I enjoyed it both times.  They were both purchased in 2010, so the tasting notes below are a mix of 2010 and the most recent Balvenie Roadshow tasting. 

This was one of the first bottles I purchased after my ‘ah-ha’ moment back the winter of early 2010.   I started researching whisky and gravitated towards this one as a good starter.  The second time I purchased it was in the fall of 2010, and it was great both times.  Believe it or not I actually think it went better with the slightly warmer temps of the fall, and the changing leaves.  The Balvenie drams are notoriously honeyed in color and the amber/gold is a spectacle to view outdoors in the fall. 

There is something beautifully distinctive about the Balvenie distillery.  The packaging is always uniform and the bottle design is lovely.  In fact, if you were to keep the bottle corked, and flip it upside down, it is actually the shape of the pot stills at the distillery.  In general there is a consistency to the line that I always loved…it kind of has an air to it, but is still 'working class' if that is possible for an drink.  Kind of like a rich person that insists on earning their own way through hard work...truly Glennfiddich's cooler cousin.

The Doublewood is listed as being matured in both whisky oak casks and oak sherry casks.  It is US law that bourbon cask may only be used once, so after that many of them wind up being used for Scotch.  The art of putting it into a second cask is what is known as a ‘finish’ cask.  Not to be confused with the tasting ‘finish’, this stage is where a whisky is allowed to spend a good 6-12+  months in a different cask, and pull some additional flavors out of that new cask.

Tasting Notes

Nose:  I get Sherry right off the bat, the Oloroso casks did their job.  As per usual with Balvenie there are some lovely vanilla and honey influences that pass through unfettered.  Very pleasant nose.

Palate:  Mellowed, but elegant.  In addition to the sherry, some nutty moments and fruitiness come through. (oranges?)  Quite sweet and honeyed.

Finish:  It is a little spicy on the way out, and it has a nice long finish.  Some additional vanilla peeks through and leaves a warming feeling.  I wish it would last a little longer, but it does carry it’s weight long enough to get to the next sip.

Conclusion:  

This is a smooth and mellow experience.  I feel there is some solid complexity and it is rather warming.  The layer of sherry helps fill it out a bit, and overall I think it is a casual and approachable Speyside that I would purchase again.  Certainly one for a future 'bang for the buck' list.

Score:  83

Tasting Notes from 2010 & the present

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