Maybe if you are a connoisseur of Scotch, you’ve had Balvenie. But most of us Americans haven’t heard of it. Balvenie is a line of rare single cask Speysides from Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE, created and distilled in Dufftown, Strathspey, Scotland. Speysides can only be distilled in Strathspey, and it’s the region where the more popular Glenlivet and Glenfiddich hail from; you might call it the main Scotch region. Single malt whisky from Strathspey is known for its complex, sweet flavors, similar to the foggy, cold, complex climate of Scotland. And this whisky has plenty of that.
The Balvenie we’re most interested in is the Doublewood 12, which spent the first 12 years of its life in either traditional whisky casks or American Oak ex-bourbon barrels before being moved to Spanish oak ex-Oloroso sherry casks 9 more months. Then, it’s moved to oak “tuns” to be married for another 4 months. Hence, the name DoubleWood; it’s been aged in two different types of wood, resulting in its own unique character.
So how does it taste? On the nose, you’ll get notes of Sweet fruit and Oloroso sherry as well as some, honey and vanilla. The palate is sweet, full, smooth and mellow, according to Balvenie, with nuts, cinnamon and some more sherry from the casks, as well as some chocolatey character in there somewhere. And on the finish, you’ll get a long taste of warm spice. Really, when it comes to single-malt whisky, it doesn’t get better than this. It won Gold For Speyside Single Malts at the Scotch Whisky Masters in 2015.
Sound good to us. Balvenie has a whole host of other malts try out, such as DoubleWood 17, Caribbean Cask 14, Balvenie Thirty and Balvenie Forty, and even Cask 4567, which has been aged a full 50 years. But we think you’ll be on won over by DoubleWood 12 alone, whether you’re already a scotch fan, or not.