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Founded in 1892 and located in Dufftown on Speyside, The Balvenie is the only single malt Scotch whisky distillery that still grows and malts its own barley. It also has the distinction of being the last distillery in the Scottish Highlands to maintain and operate a working floor maltings.
The Balvenie Doublewood 12 year old is aged in traditional oak casks before being finished in first fill Spanish sherry casks. Each stage lends different qualities to the resulting single malt - the traditional casks, having previously held bourbon, soften and add character, whilst the sherry wood brings depth and fullness of flavour.
The nose is sweet sherry, vanilla and a tint of oak. It's smooth and delivers sweet honey, sherry, slight spice a hint of hazelnut with a mild oak tang. The finish is medium long.
I was pleasantly surprised and whilst I only bought a quarter bottle this time, I would be happy to have a full bottle in my collection and will certainly purchase one in the future. I think if this is classed as an entry level single malt, it is the best Speyside in this class that I have tried so far.