The Balvenie distillery is located in Dufftown near the old Balvenie Castle. In operation since 1886 by William Grant and has continued in family ownership since then. Beyond having a very wide range of offerings (14 standard, plus more in specialized markets), Balvenie currently has one of the busiest and slickest websites we’ve found yet. In other words, there is a lot going on at this place. Little wonder, too, as the distillery has collected awards and medals for many of its offerings since the turn of the millennium. The Doublewood has been an early club favorite and is often used when we’re introducing people to whisky.
Age: 12 years
Maturation: Bourbon oak and European Sherry oak
Nose: Apple, grape, ripening stone fruit, apricot, honeysuckle
Palate: Caramel, sherry, sweet, spice, hazelnut
Finish: Sour apple
Adam – God, this is smooth. The Doublewood is one of my go-to choices when I want to convert others to Scotch, and for good reason. The double maturation with the sherry cask softens any harsh edges and adds a little more character than most Speysides contain. It’s also not terribly complex, allowing a new consumer to not be overwhelmed. Even better, it’s quite affordable and a better spirit than a majority of malts at this price. What more do you want? A little sweetness and fruit, some grains, a pleasing warmth in the finish, this whisky doesn’t stray out of bounds at any part and thus makes itself imminently enjoyable to both the veteran and the novice. Pardon me while I pour myself another…
Kate – You can definitely tell the dual influences of the bourbon and sherry casks, for there’s a dueling sweet and sour characteristic. Yummy, this is like spring as it blossoms out of winter. It still has aspects of cool weather with new flora and fauna. This is one of my must-have bar items, along with Highland Park 12 and Ardbeg 10. It’s just a damn good Scotch.
Meghan – I love the smoothness of this Scotch. It has a creamy nuttiness and sweetness, a bit like a very high-end Honey Nut Cheerios. I find Speysides tend to be a potpourri of the other regions. It rarely works as well as it does with the Doublewood. You can taste both woods, with a hint of Islay and a floral dose of Highland. A well-rounded Scotch worthy of any home bar.