When I decided to start stocking my bar at home with a collection of single malts, I referenced my experience tasting single malts at the many bars I’ve worked at over the last decade. I enjoy drinking heavily peated mosters like Lagavulin and Laphroaig after a long hard night when things are moving towards after-hours. For relaxation at home, I would like to turn to a savory, smooth and sweet malt. The Balvenie Doublewood was an obvious choice.
The Balvenie distillery was named after the adjacent Balvenie Castle in Dufftown(Speyside). The castle dates from the 13th century, the ditillery from 1892. Even the Malt Master at The Balvenie is historic: David Stewart is the longest serving distiller in Scotland at over 45 years.
What makes the Doublewood unique is its two stage aging, where 12 year old whiskey in bourbon barrels is transferred to sherry casks for a few months to finish it, similar to Glenmorangie Lasanta. The Balvenie describes thier Doublewood as smooth and mellow, with beautifully combined flavours ~ nutty sweetness, cinnamon spiciness and a delicately proportioned layer of sherry. Other reviews of The Balvenie Doublewood can be found at For Peat Sake, Rocky’s Cigar Blog, Humiblog, Chatterwocky and Oak and Smoke.
A common element of Doublewood reviews is its accesibilty and smoothness. My own perceptions of this scotch are a little different. The caramel sweetness on the nose is simply delicious, in fact I never rinse my glass after finishing because the next day the smell in the glass makes me crave toffee in my coffee. The taste continues to echo these sweet woody notes. It feels very mouthfilling, more about richness than refreshing. The finish is also rich, with a deep warm burn that follows the whiskey all the way to your stomach more than other single malts . This burn is the one element of Doublewood that I grow tired of, although I recognise that many view the accompanying finish and flavours as justifying the warmth. The Balvenie Doublewood is bottled at 40% alc/vol.