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Balvenie 12 Year Old DoubleWood


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@vanPeltReview by @vanPelt

3rd May 2013


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Nose #1: Strangely, right after first pour, a whiff of stale next-day beer: That can't be right! Let's let it breath-- Good, it subsides.

Nose #2: Then anise comes in, as a tingly oak spice. (I think this is what some call pine.) Straw and heather develop, and the anise is joined by nutmeg. I was anticipating allspice or honey, but it is suprisingly not sweet-smelling to that extent; if you look for it you can maybe discern some apricot syrup. But mostly that nutmeg and anise...

Palate: Oaky nutmeg and vanilla is the opening theme; then turning into wood...; and then that wood becomes a crate containing green apples.

Finish: Light in flavor, but lingering with green apple peel faint nutmeg.

The Double Wood is light and drinkable, an ok starter Scotch. For this kind of expression, a little more sweetness (which I had anticipated from reputation) could balance the spices. Other Scotches of similar class do this better: the Auchentoshan 12 and Glengoyne 17 mellow out more quickly with more toffee, and the Auchentoshan Select provides the apple character without any spicy bitterness.

The character of this whisky reminds me most strongly of the Isle of Jura 10, which I think is preferable. The Balvenie has just a little less of the Jura's "funny nose", but the Jura has a more balanced palate. Finally, for anyone perusing these shades of Scotch, I would point to the Auchentoshan Three Wood.

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vanPelt commented

Follow-up: A good deal of oxidation has done this malt good: The sweetness that I longed for has partially emerged. Now less bitter and with more noticeable caramel notes. I could easily increase the score to 80 or higher.

8 years ago 0

Erlend commented

I was so lucky to get presented for this Balvenie doublewood , the Auchentoshan Three Wood and ca.ten more whiskys by Paul at Whisky Bar, Crete. I did like this Doublewood second best, after the Auchentoshan Three Wood. Whisky Bar, Crete is lokated on the beach and I guess that both these whiskys does improve when nice slightly salted seebreeze is added.

8 years ago 0

vanPelt commented

Sounds like a heavenly experience, @Erlend. I suppose it's a good example of the need to control your setting for comparison! It also probably helps to have the Balvenie from an open bottle, since (as mentioned in my follow-up) the oxidation does improve it substantially. Incidentally, glad you enjoyed the Auchentoshan Three Wood. I have also noted elsewhere my fondness for that one, especially when trying similar oak-and-sweet malts.

8 years ago 0

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