Review No.48. The Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year Old

This was the first time I came across the doublewood term in the name of a single malt.  In the case of this Balvenie 12 year old the term doublewood reflects the maturation process where the spirit has been matured in ex bourbon casks and then transferred to ex first fill sherry casks for the final months.  The term first fill means that it has been the first time the barrel has been used to mature whisky.  This in turn means that this whisky is first in line to soak up the sherry cask flavours from the barrel.  Sounds quite yummy.


Whisky: The Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 40% vol.

Nose: Vanilla, honey, dried fruits, spice

Taste: Honey, vanilla, strawberry, berries, dried fruits, malt, roasted nuts, oak

Finish:  Spice, roasted nuts, oak

Score: 3

Summary: I was expecting more from this one due to the doublewood process.  There are some pleasant notes both on the aroma and taste and the sherry influence can be picked out with the berries, dried fruit and roasted nuts.  There is a nice level of spice to it too but underneath all of that I found that this one had a certain bite to it.  At 40% I wouldn’t have expected this so I am guessing it is the character of the spirit.  I say this with Aberlour 10 in mind as this is my benchmark for entry level sherry influenced single malts.  The Balevenie 12 year old just didn’t have the overall delivery in comparison but I can forgive it for the elements that are there and also because this is priced a a decent price range.  In fact, you can get this in 20cl sized bottles, which  I did.  I think more brands should do this as I believe it will tempt more people to try a whisky due to the lower cost and less whisky left to finish off (never spill away whisky!) if you are not keen on it.  Also, I think 20cl is enough for you to be able to get to know a whisky in reasonable depth. I am a fan of all whisky types but I do have a slight preference for sherry matured single malts and looking at the rest of the Balvenie range I am intrigued by the rest of their offerings.


Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,

1 – not to my preference

2 – tastes fine but does not excite me

3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally

4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf

5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf


Image source: