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Drink Review : Balvenie 12 Year Old DoubleWood

One of the classic after-dinner malts, BalvenieDoublewood’s extra complexity and richness are a result of a second maturation in fresh sherry casks. Great stuff.

Balvenie Doublewood Review:

Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year Old

(apparent 6.7% ABV ; independent bottling; 46.2p/50cl ; Balvenie Distillery ; 90,267 bottled)

Nose: Incredible depth, richness and a willingness to reveal new and wonderful aromas. The sherry is very discreet but it gives the malt an immensely elegant character, and there are also heathers, hay and fruit cake. It is a very long nose, even though there’s only about a fiteen minutes of it in the glass.

Palate: Honeysuckle, dried fruits and waxy notes are all on show here. Marshmallow is present but the sherry is very much the star. It’s thick and creamy, with some heather, Christmas cake and liquorice notes. It’s very sedate on the palate, lingering on the tongue and paving the way to a long, luxurious finish.

 This is extremely long in the mouth, stretching out for over half an hour afterwards. Dried fruits, cream cake and heather mingle with the sherry.

The combination of the sherry and some of the other flavours work really well together, and the balance between the two is just right. A very classy malt which combines sophistication with elegance.

A really beautiful whisky. The sherry is just absolutely gorgeous. There are just so many different aspects to this that work so well together. The combination of sherry and barley is something you don’t see very often and it works really well. It’s a very classy whisky which is easy to drink.

I found this to be a very long and rewarding whisky. It’s very sherry-forward, yet incredibly well-balanced and almost conventionally correct, which is a rare thing indeed.

This is an extremely difficult malt to review in many ways. It’s too good and it’s completely out of left-field. Unfortunately, every time reviewers try to perform this task, there’s always the inevitable whinge about how difficult it is to review such an extraordinary whisky. Personally, I think that’s a great attitude to adopt when you’re asked to drink something that your friends would have no idea about.

For me, this is a very ornamental malt that requires careful and considered drinking. It takes a while to really get it into your mouth and then it sticks there for as long as you can stand it. Far from being scary, I found that this was actually easier and less intimidating than some other aged malts. The fresh and youthful character of the mixture of flavours and aromas is quite appealing to one who enjoys a more temperate or mild malt. However, this is indeed a very complex and multifaceted whisky styles. Once you’ve tasted most of these sorts of malt, you have a good idea about the style and the flavour. This one is, however, different to so many others.

As often with artisan or non-commercial whiskies, the enjoyment of this malt is best described as “private”. The experience of drinking it is something which you’ll only really enjoy if you’re prepared to put in the work. That’s a true mark of success for me.

BalvenieDoubleWood is an extremely classy malt and not one you should approach lightly. However, if you find yourself with the interest and the time, go get it. It’s superb.

Recommendation

Balvenie Doublewood Review 1:

The alcohol level in this malt is far lower than many other grain whiskies of its age. However, it’s then promoted as a sherry cask-matured malt and quite frankly, this isn’t very good.

I find that some of the other grain whiskies’ alcohol levels can induce headaches, while others can leave my palate a bit too dry.

Sherry casks normally deliver a more syrupy and sweet style of malt, and this is something that my palate doesn’t deal well with at all.

However, some grain whiskies’ alcohol levels are very low, bordering on the necessary to be called non-alcoholic, and it’s then difficult to find these under-spirited kinds of whiskies. Enter BalvenieDoubleWood.

Balvenie Doublewood Review 2:

This malt is only 46.2% ABV (alcohol by volume) – which is actually a comparatively low alcohol level compared to the usual 50% or more. With a very low alcohol content at 46.2%, I haven’t noticed this malt producing that much in the way of headiness for me. In my opinion, the alcohol content in BalvenieDoubleWood is at a level which is perfect. The alcohol level in a malt whisky by the name of BalvenieDoubleWood isn’t too high.

Written by Mark Adams

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