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Balvenie 12 Year Old DoubleWood

Average score from 63 reviews and 321 ratings 82

Balvenie 12 Year Old DoubleWood

Product details

  • Brand: Balvenie
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 40.0%
  • Age: 12 year old

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Balvenie 12 Year Old DoubleWood

The colour is a deep caramel. Like many a Balvenie, the immediate hit on the nose is honey and toffee, with custard, baked apple, cinnamon and clove. Blood orange. Definite sherry note. Quite nutty. With water a smidge of peat and the nuts become more roasted. Fruity, honeyed, malty and quite lovely.

Creamy on the palate with dark honey, fruitcake, more cinnamon-and-clove and thick caramel. Quite malty. I detect the faintest hint of peat, especially with water, which also brings out some chili heat and a balsamic note. Orange pith. Dates. Nutmeg. Touch of sulphur. Not hugely complex but everything is very much in balance.

The finish is oaky and peppery with clove and burnt almond. Let's compare it with the current 750ml 40% bottling (a theatre programmer brought me a bottle as a gift during TIFF this year). Colour is about the same; on the nose, the 40% is much flatter, less malty, somehow "heavier" (perhaps deadened by E150?); similar issue on the palate, as well the 40% has a much thinner mouthfeel. And the 40% is more peppery - and a bit more sulphurous - on the finish. I pretty much stand by my eight-year-old 78 point review of the 40%; but the 43% version? High 80s for sure. There must be more to this than just a 3% difference in alcohol, but I have no idea what that could be.


This bottle was a gift from my real estate agent after we bought our house. She enjoys bourbon mostly and during the house hunting process we often discussed whisky and I told her she needed to try scotch. Well she bought me this on the promise that I would let her try it. And she did, and she enjoyed it, but she's still a bourbon gal.

This bottle has been opened one month and is 2/3 full. This is the 43% bottling.

Nose: Definitely pick up the sherry cask on the nose. Subtle, dryer, lighter sherried notes compared to say Glenmorangie Lasanta or even Glenfiddich 12. White grapes, pear, grassy and a bit floral. A pinch of caramel and vanilla.

Palate: Honey, and more honey. Lots of honey. Maybe not as much as when i first opened it, but still veritable amounts of honey. Other light notes of white grape, vanilla, apple and pear. It is very sessionable and "smooth" if a bit one dimensional.

Finish: More honey on the finish with some vanilla as well. Pleasant enough.

Overall: Pretty standard 12yo Speysider nose if on the lighter side. Lots of nice honey notes. Not that complex. It's very drinkable. However, at $65USD + tax there are several other options I would pick up for a sessionable scotch.

This was one of the first Single Malts that made me appreciate the flavours which can be found in whiskies. Mind you, that was way back in the second half of the 1990s' decade. I had left a bottle at my future in laws home because they didn't drink Single Malts. The Balvenie, I remembered got better as the fill level dropped and air exposure increased over the few years that the bottle lived in their cabinet. "The" Balvenie was the first single malt brand that ushered in a parabolic pricing in Canada. @casualtorture nice review.

@fiddich1980 Awesome, I enjoy your poetic responses. I think a lot of us have those malts that hold a special place as a "gateway" whisky so to speak. I will always remember the glass of Highland Park 12 on my 21st birthday. Opened a whole new world.


I approached with open arms. I appreciated the stylish packaging. I inhaled the satisfying nose. I tasted. I felt the whisky's soft (I was going to write voluptuous, but that's a'Bunadh's domain) embrace. I tasted. I swallowed. I forgot. And that's the problem with this. It's just so forgettable. The components are correct. It's just as if it has been put through the blander.

@alderinos, if I didn't already know 12 Double Wood well I would want tasting notes. Since I do already know 12 Double Wood well, I am happy to read your poetic-prose affects about the whisky. Vinyl never went out of style for me, either. And I never expect to read a book on an electronic device.

@Victor my family have a lot of vinyl but nothing to play it on.

I appreciate the feel of a good book but I have to admit for books I would not want to keep a copy of, I find my iPad very useful, especially with an app that allows me access to my local library's collection.

As for whisky, I admit I'm not "old-fashioned" I don't miss the days of standard 40% bottlings. I prefer the "modern" trend of full flavour cask strength...


NOSE: delicious nose with fruit, honey, vanilla cream in a well-balanced marriage with sherry-inspired aromas. It does deliver that "doublewood" it promises on the nose. Other notes: overripe banana; a touch of green apple (Granny Smith?; toffee;

TASTE: slightly oily, vanilla, very smooth, not a lot going on; hint of fresh pastry;

FINISH: swift, and sadly so. Nothing to write home about.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: this whisky smells amazingly delicious! When you smell it - your mouth waters. However, this lovely nose really does this whisky a disservice by raising up one's expectations of taste. The taste itself is lacking in flavor big time. It is nice, but it is definitely a put-down after such a promising, interesting nose. The finish is nowhere to be found which only added to my disappointment with the taste. In summary, Doublewood is a downward spiral experience.

Balvenie 12 Doublewood has been very batch variable. Some batches are very good indeed, others good, others "meh". Take a taste of the Balvenie 17 Doublewood if you can. Great whisky. Double the price at least, though.

Also, if your 12 Doublewood leaves a lot to be desired, give it a lot of air time. I had a completely "meh" bottle which became quite good after 18+ months of open bottle air time.

@Victor Thank you for the advice! I'm afraid the 17-year old version is way too much than I'm prepared to pay for a whisky of this age.


Neat Nose: oak & vanilla, honeysuckle, sweet pepper, really nice licorice. Taste: oak, pepper, spicy/salty caramel. Bit of a bite.

Water Nose: water kind of kills the pleasant nose that it had neat. Taste: taste is somewhat improved with about 8-10 drops of water. Less pepper, more rounded mouth feel. Vegetal. Tiny hint of smoke.


Light golden color. Very sweet vanilla-honey aromas. Rich creamy texture with notes of sweet malty cinnamon, pepper and ginger. Muddled sweet-spice finish. I don’t really sense the chocolate or raspberry that have been noted in other ratings. Unfortunately this falls a little flat for me. I would not get this again.

If it were to be bottled at 46% it would be the best entry level malt on the market, bar-none.

As it is, Balvenie make great stuff but sadly aren't particularly concerned about appealing to the more seasoned drinker who wants a little more 'Oomph' in their Scotch than this paltry 40% abv.

I find this malt so interesting.. You either love it or think it is just ok, I know many people who think this is the bees knees.. I find it a sound every day kind of dram..Yes it would be so much better with a bit of ummph.


Hello, everyone. Tonight I decided to crack open a bottle of something new, and so I chose the 12 year-old expression of The Balvenie's famous DoubleWood.

1) THE NOSE -Front-> Oak is at the forefront of this whisky; it is unmistakable, even to a novice. Very, very deliberate cask-work takes a bow soon to the malt's honeyed sweetness. A deeper nose is, at first, hindered by the sharpness of the spirit's youth; a minute is needed for it to calm down. Finally, rich, heavy leathers emerge, enveloped in ethereal, floral cherry stain. Here, we can slightly detect the aftermath of the Sherry wood.


3) The FINISH The warmth and taste of oak is immediate upon swallowing, after a breath, and lingers. The last goodbyes of wood sugar cling to the tongue before they, too, soon fade, carrying with them the spice and seductive musk that ferries this beauteously executed dram into its death.

TOTAL REVIEW: A Phenomenal whisky by any right, the Balvenie 12-year-old DoubleWood stands out among my collection. So close to the P-word (rhymes with Gerfect) that I am beside myself admitting that yes, the whisky was initially sharp on the nose and briefly on the palate. But, I will also admit that this is the only whisky under 16 to invoke such deep, unexpected, almost alarming feelings within me. I will have to leave it alone for a while, as this recent nose nearly moved me to tears in remembrance of old, youthful love. I will never, ever be without a bottle of this whisky, mark my words.

Whatever happened to the formatting here, we should add it to the Tips & Tricks thread as a "do not do this" warning. Something with those arrows, maybe?


First review - Reviewed a lot of wine, but first time doing Whisky

No water, sat for 15min before nosing

Nose Toffee, Vanilla, and peach fuzz - All together its almost a cooked peach crumble with brown sugar cashu nuts sprinkled on top Hint of Anzac bisket (for those who know what they are) As it developed a bit of green oak hits coming through Had to go looking for this nose, was quite reserved and didn't offer her secretes freely

Palate I found it very elegant and smooth Subtle come on and the vanilla and toffee carry through as the main flavours Thinning tannis on the back end and then it just moves off, doesn't leave much or overstay its welcome, it just slips off Spice as it develops but only the thinnest veneer of sherry Elegant (almost thin)- in truth I like the nose more than the palate

I hope that you'll enjoy the whisky as you do the wine. Nice review, I had the very same spirit this weekend. For me it's sweet honeyed creme brûlée with caramel but also a note of leather. Drinkable but not spectacular.

Thanks for your review, James. By chance, I tried this last time I was in Japan, and quite enjoyed it. Encouraged by your review, I might snaffle a bottle as it is quite reasonably priced now I am back over here! Being new to the game, I can't describe a whisky as others here, but I am trying to follow others who may have a similar palate to me! (BTW, I am also a Kiwi - from CHCH.)


A small-town lumber yard could be filled with the aromas and flavors of this whisky. Besides having dusty wood aromas and flavors, this spirit has a sweet bananas-foster flavor. This is a unique scotch. However I think a smokier finish could have gone a long way to improve its woody character.

From snifter, splash of water

Nose-20: pine, cedar, tree sap, bitters, ginger Palate-22: banana, brown sugar, oak, seaweed Finish-19: oak, paprika, stoney moss, florals, sherry Balance-21: nice transitions that provide unique surprises Overall-82:

From scotch tumbler, average splash of water

Nose-20: stained leather, vanilla, red apple, parsley, oak, evergreen Palate-19: cereal, toffee, caramel, lots of (briefly bitter) oak wood, cedar, pine Finish-20: slightly smokey and stoney, cedar and floral notes, seaweed Balance-20: wood flavors prevail. They change from one to the next. Overall-79:


My first review, submitted with a suitable degree of fear and trembling. I am still struggling to name what I'm smelling or tasting but I figure if I don't at least try to articulate the experience I'm not going to get any better at it. So here goes.

Caramel sweetness on the nose with vanilla and orange notes, after some time in the open air some pleasant cereal notes start to become apparent. There is a sharpness to the bouquet, a slight acidity. To my uneducated nose the sweetness rather dominates but isn't unpleasant.

Very easy to add too much water to this dram, a little goes a long way. With water the citrus notes become far more pronounced and balance the sweetness. Depending on how long I keep the whisky on the palate a bitterness develops that if I keep it there too long will dominate the finish; perhaps the acidity hinted at by the nose? With a little less time I found myself reflecting on a lingering caramel sweetness and warmth and a hint of bitterness.

I'm pretty sure I'm detecting other things that I cannot name. I find the experience of nosing scotch a little overwhelming. I am also unable to assess mouth feel yet. Please forgive the omission.

It's a very pleasant dram and one that I find myself returning to again and again for further exploration.

My pleasure teebone. I waited until I'd spent a decent amount of time with it before writing a review. Even as a beginner I feel like I owe it to the whisky to give it the time to express itself fully.

Nice first review. This is a dram that gets mixed reviews, but I like to put it in the underrated category. I enjoy it and always make sure I have a bottle in the cabinet. Thanks for the review.


The nose on this is nice. It is fruity ans sweet but the in the mouth it just falls apart. The finish is unenjoyable.

Tired it again today, free sample at a pop up marketing event/building, and the nose is still okay but the mouth is not as bad as my previous experience but the development is really short with a medium finish. Still not impressive.

This one used to be pretty reliable, but the bottle I got recently has quite a bitter finish. Looks like some less than stellar casks slipped in. Your succinct review sums it up nicely.


Once in a while you bump into whiskies, you feel like everyone's going to like it. The Balvenie DoubleWood 12YO is one of them. Very full and smooth dram, with moderate dryness.

Balvenie DoubleWood 12 yrs is like Ray Barone from "Everybody Loves Raymond". Everybody must like him. And I mean it in a good way. Easy to drink.

Nose: Best part of the whisky. Sweet and fruity, with nice sherry influence. Notes of grapes and vanilla.

Taste: Smooth combination of nuts, cinnamon apples and delicate sherry.

Finish: Crispy with lingering warming spices and sherry oak. Strongly dry.

Balance: Full whisky. Smooth, pleasant and crispy.


­Nose – Sweet, confectionary, old sweet shop, oranges, currants, also some fresh pollen and slight floral notes, hints of wine and spices. With water, buttery corn and vanilla aromas emerge.

­Palate – Smooth, initial rich honeyed sweetness and dried fruits, candied orange peel and fresh grapes, followed by warming cinnamon spice in the centre of tongue. Some vanilla and hints of nutmeg. Smooth, creamy mouth-feel, but later becomes slightly watery and thin.

­Finish – Crisp, dry sherry, and pronounced warming oak.

Fairly rich, fruity and sweet. A good level of complexity on the nose and palate, but the finish comes up a little short and simple, which I feel lets the whisky down a little.


A fairly one dimensional malt this, but a very pleasant one. Nose: Fino sherry (very clean fruit) toffee and butter. Taste: Sherry toffee sweetness and a whiff of smoke. Finish: Finish is short with fading notes of sherry and smoke still sweetness dominates the palate.


This 12 yr old balances between the vanilla flavors picked-up from the bourbon casks and just enough of the fruitiness and depth from a few months sitting in first-filled sherry butts. Its pleasantly sweet and silky smooth. Vanilla and honey are center stage. Followed by caramel and oak. Then towards the finish, a bitterness starts to develop. Not overwhelmingly, mind you, but its there. And it intensifies in your mouth as you keep drinking it. Thanks to the sweetness of the spirit, that bitterness never goes out of control, but like I said:"its there." Furthermore, its a bit over priced.

Agreed. I didn't even find the sweetness you did, and it is needed to balance the wood. High hopes and one of my least favorites. The 17yo fulfills the original expectations, but you have to sell your left arm to get it.

I can relate to your tasting notes, @vrudy6. I never quite understood what all the fuss about the 12yo Double Wood was about. Quite underwhelming, in my opinion.


Very light orange. Lots of honey and crisp hibiscus and Roses. Sweet with little off nose. Not offensive taste. Lots of sweet and a tiny bit of sour old hay and the finish is dark fruits and honey for miles


Its been awhile since I've written a review. So lets get to it eh?

Color: Gentle Amber

Nose: At the beginning notes of sherry, sweet baked breads and not so sweet homemade grape jam. With time bourbon notes come to the front in the way of sweet caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Its interesting how changed almost completely. I would have thought I was losing a sweet bourbon if I didn't know what this was.

Body: Medium weight, not to rich.

Taste: Iced raspberry scones (malty bread that isn't overloaded with red raspberries). Gentle tinged of orange marmalade as a light spread. Not a lot of bourbon influence here, a light dusting of fall baking spices within. Not very balanced here but so far you can tell there is two casks in play here.

Finish: Medium length with red berries, mixed citrus peels that seems to have a slight focus on the sweet orange that floats in the background.

Overall: A nice nose that took a little time to develop that is sweeter than the rest of the drink. The balance seems to be a bourbon nose and a sherry body. Tasty but Im glad I didn't buy it.

"how it changed", "nosing a sweet", I was in a hurry transferring this from my notepad to the website using my "smart"phone.


In keeping with my latest entry-level dram series, we have this twelve year old DoubleWood. I believe it replaces the old 10 Year Old Founder's Reserve (which is excellent - grab it if you can find it), and is matured for ten years in ex-bourbon barrels, then another two years in ex-sherry casks.

The colour is a deep amber. On the nose, quite malty, with lots of toffee and vanilla. Pistachios, chocolate ganache and layers of both tropical and dark fruits. Very rich nose, nicely balanced between the bourbon and sherry casks, with a tiny hint of peat in the very background. More malty with a bit of water.

On the palate, the sherry cask jumps to the front of the line, with more dark fruits and Christmas pudding. Some could mistake this for a rum! There is still lots of caramel and chocolate - quite sweet. Water tames the richness a bit.

The finish is a little rough, with more caramel and marzipan. Overall, a little too sweet for my liking, but that is where I am hit-and-miss with Balvenie. As far as their 12 year old expressions go, I prefer the Signature, which unfortunately has been discontinued. Am curious to try the 17 Year Old DoubleWood and do a side-by-side!

It seems actually that it was the 12 yr old signature that replaced the 10 yo Founder's Reserve. Speaking of which, the best for me are the Signature and Portwood expressions. Very nice review as allways, cheers!

Ah - OK - I read somewhere that this one was the replacement for the 10yo (I think Jim Murray said it) - but I (or he) could be wrong. And thanks for the kind words!


nose: fresh pears, green apples, lemongrass, some sherry, fresh sandalwood, yeast, typical floral Speyside notes.

taste: pear cake, vanilla, fermented dough, hints of sherry, overall a sweet yeasty flavor.

finish: not that long but nice oak balance with again flavour of pear and a pleasant malty bitterness.

summary: extremely well balanced single malt, a modern single malt whisky (ex bourbon plus extra maturation) as it should, exemplary but at the same time with not much peaks. I must admit that I am not a big Speyside fan, but this dram lacks of some particularity... like a lot of beautiful women with no extra-something that you cannot explain... I miss a distinguishing mark, it's highly enjoyable but it doesn't intrigue me.


I'm a huge fan of Balvenie, with their 21 year old Portwood finished whisky being one of my top favorite Speysides. Even more after my recent distillery visit where I had the opportunity to try a 39 year old whisky from 1974, straight from the cask which was an epic experience in and of itself, well to say that it deepened my loving for this distillery would be an understatement.

I recently had the chance to sample their entry level Balvenie 12 year old Doublewood, which many of my friends have raved about for months, if not years. It's a whisky that I myself always walk past in the bottle shops as I'm personally more drawn to the cask strength whiskies, with big bold flavors, but when this chance came along to sample it, I couldn't pass it up.

Into my trusty glencairn it goes and let's see what we can see.

Nose: the first thing that hits me is smoke, very nice soft sweet smoke, then oranges, then honey and vanilla with some further citrus following it up (mandarins?)

Definitely a soft Speyside feel to the aroma and it makes me interested in how the palate will shape up.

Taste: Sweet, way too sweet for me, honey, lots of honey, oranges and citrus, vanilla, faint hint of smoke, very faint.

And a short finish, very sweet with the honey leading center charge and the vanilla following it all up.

This would likely be a very good entry level whisky for most people, being quite smooth and sweet with the honey and vanilla and the faint hint of smoke provides some interest to those who are not familiar with the Speyside's smokier cousins in the Highlands, however personally for me it's too sweet and the 40% abv just doesn't provide the mouthfeel that I'm looking for.

But that being said if you're looking to start exploring whiskies this whisky would likely be a good place to start and at around $75 AUS a bottle you won't break the bank purchasing a bottle.

@Squidgy, you KNOW that you were right to walk past the Doublewood. Your 75 review score confirms that. There is a lot of batch variation with Doublewood. I had a 'machts nichts' bottle of Doublewood given to me (like you, a 75 scorer)...then when the next one was given to me I gave it away...and it was MUCH BETTER (like 87). Kicked myself a bit. But my sister was a worthy recipient of the better bottle and I can still drink from it.

Founders Reserve 10 yo, that's the young Balvenie which has my heart.

Have you tried any of the 15 year old single casks? I tried cask 1976 (I bought a bottle for my uncle). It was in my earlier newbie days but I really liked it so I went back to the store and found another of the same cask. It now gathers dust waiting for one day....maybe soon, and I don't have a lot of bourbon matured stuff open.

I tried another one at a party but it was loud, the glass was wrong...disaster. I don't blame the bottle, just the environment. That one was definitely nature, not nurture.


This is one has a lot of name recognition, so I ordered one glass at the bar. Not bad, but nothing to write home about either. This would appeal to Glenlivet and Glenfiddich lovers.


from a purchased sample

Nose: Very malt and rather cereal. Honey, frosting, and strong vanilla sweetness. Rich. Slightly sour flower notes. A little resiny and wax. Ginger, horse radish, and a few cinnamon-like spices. It's ok.

Palate: Seems thick and viscous on entry, but turns into thin flavor. Honey, syrup, and a light amount of wood. Malty and resinous. Fairly limpid and doesn't seem to have much going on.

Finish: Very simple and brief. Malty and sweet finish. Stale ginger bark. Candied roasted nuts. It's easy, but pretty much the definition of uninspired malt. Not bad, just not interesting, and not much 'there' there.


Balvenie distillery in located in Dufftown and was established in 1892 by William Grant, the owner of nearby Glenfiddich distillery. Part of the equipment used was brought in from Lagavulin and Glen Albyn. Balvenie is one of the few distilleries that still do some of their own maltings (about 15% of total requirements). The Doublewood 12yo is called such since over the period of maturation it is transferred from American ex-bourbon casks to European first-fill sherry casks, although the time spent in the sherry casks amounts to just “a further few months”.

The nose is a tad weird to start with: fruity and distinctly winey, followed by malty elements. Licorice and oranges lurk in the background but the grapey flavour is overly dominant. Not to my taste.

The palate is rather light, almost to the point of being watery. Oranges and licorice make a reappearance, with ginger and horseradish creeping in towards the end. Ugh, this is not what I look for in a single malt whisky.

The finish is of medium length and quite pleasant. Sweet and spice mingle to form a harmonious ending, which I would not have expected after the nose and the palate.

This will never be a part of my cabinet. The only thing that was reasonably satisfying was the well-balanced ending, whereas both nose and palace were disappointing.


The oft-reviewed Double Wood is Balvenie’s signature budget dram. It’s a nice little dram with a light heart and a bit of a sherry kick. It’s a reasonably complex yet well-priced whisky. It’s a good everyday dram. BUT… it’s not everything it could be.

Nose: Quite a sweet, dense, and fresh honey aroma comes first. Certainly not a sherry bomb nose, but some lovely fruits do present themselves. Apples, fresh pears, hints of cherry, nuts, wisps of oak, vanilla, and toffee. What sets this apart is the definitive licorice presence. Licorice notes are rarely as pronounced as they are with this nose.

Palate: Warm and woody arrival. There’s some great oak flavour here, as well as some lingering, ever-present sherry notes. Not impressive, but not dull. I wish the fruity notes were more pronounced. They are consistent from arrival to finish, but don’t get a chance to really flex their muscles. I suppose two months in a sherry cask isn’t quite enough to impress a sherry bomber like myself. A charming, yet slightly rough-around-the-edges spicy note is also present throughout.

Finish: Grain, vanilla, orange, and more grain. The finish is short and unimpressive. I’m reminded of the finish on the cheaper-still Glenmorangie Original, as it is a smooth, grainy finish with mild citrus notes. This finish has slightly more of an oak presence than the Glenmorangie Original, but it’s also shorter and a bit less in sync with the nose and body.

It’s good, but there’s some disharmony here, especially with the finish. The nose is lovely, and the spiciness on the palate is something that I personally enjoy. The problem is that it’s a light dram at heart that aspires to be bigger than it is. The sherry notes are ever present yet they never fully blossom. Disappointing, given that the company deliberately called it double wood and markets it based on the second sherry maturation. If I may, here are some suggestions for the distillery (as if they’re reading this). This whisky should be older, having spent more time in the sherry cask. Or, it should remain at 12 years, but have spent a larger ratio of time in the sherry cask. Or, it should have been bottled at a higher percentage. Or, the company should have forgone the inclusion of the sherry maturation altogether, instead producing what would likely be an affordable, nice, light, summery bourbon-hearted dram along the lines of the slightly cheaper, yet comparatively superior Glenmorangie Original.

While speculative, I think any one of the above suggestions might help bring this competent dram up a notch into the realm of greatness. I’m not totally disappointed. It certainly has its charms and it is indeed a quality whisky. But the company oversells the sherry presence and hasn’t engineered a decent finish that is synchronous with the nose and body.

Nice thorough review!

Balvenie recently released their 12 yr Single Barrel (1st used ex-bourbon cask, and non-chill filtered).

It's probably been nearly a year since I've had a dram of the DBL Wood, and from what I've read on different sites - it's been hit, or miss.

I could be off base by saying this, but maybe Balvenie's barrels that age their whiskys aren't as good as they used to be (keeping in mind they employ their own cooperage onsite). Maybe their bourbon/sherry cask suppliers vary from time to time thus causing quality issues?

I dunno, but either way I still enjoy the Balvenie range over many others...Just that their whiskys are getting a bit pricey.

@hunggar- Agreed. I hadn't thought much about the name, somehow, but you're right: "Double Wood" does seems like a stretch. I even think you found more sherry depth than I did ("cherry, nuts")!


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.

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.

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.


This one is transferred from a traditional oak (bourbon) cask to a sherry cask, so it's got some bourbony and sherry overtones in it.

Nose: Oak, vanilla, all spice, bourbon, sherry

Body: Fairly good mouth feel for a 12. Coats tongue pleasantly but not in a chewy fashion.

Palate: Cherry stones (that's the bourbon), oak, toffee, sherry, fairly hot alcohol for 40% ABV and 12 years; water does not improve this dram, at least not for me. It's better without water, despite the heat from the alcohol burn. If you can't abide some burn, then water it down at your own risk. You will lose some flavor, unless it's just a few wee drops you add. That would be fine.

Finish: Medium length, warming, slight bourbon note followed by the wood. I didn't get much sherry influence in the finish. Like I said, it's a little on the hot side.

My first good single malt scotch was a bottle of Lagavulin, and my second was a bottle of Balvenie 12. I think it was the Double Wood, not sure. At any rate, most beginners like this whisky. These days, I order it when some of my other favorites are not in a bar.

Comparisons to other Balvenies ( by price and by tasting notes): $53 is a fair price for the 12 Double Wood in Oregon. This said, I'm more interested in other whiskies these days. I drank this one recently as a small bottle, not a full sized bottle.

Lately, I've tasted the 12, 15 (single barrel), and 21. The 15 was my favorite in retrospect. I enjoyed the 15 very much. It costs $83 in Oregon, which also seems like a very decent price to me.

By contrast, the 21 Portwood sells for $210, which is far too expensive for what you get. Age did not improve it. I would have bottled the same casks at 18 years. I think the extra three years put this one over the top. It's too woody and a tad bitter as the older ones sometimes become.

By the way, the 15 was matured in a bourbon cask, of course. I taste more bourbon influences in Balvenies than in most other single malt scotches. That doesn't always grab my tastebuds, but the casks used for the 15 were very nice indeed. Why mess with a good thing. When a whisky slumbers and snores so peacefully in the depths of a dark barrel like some pleasure palace of Kubla Khan's, for gads sakes, leave 'er there! Aye!

Rather than the cloying cherry stone overtones that sometimes result, the 15 is silky smooth with a delightful mouthfeel and a wonderful vanilla bean and toffee swirl that envelopes the nostrils and tastebuds quite handily in a symphony of flavors that work amazingly well together.

The 15 single barrel definitely has rigmoroles Seal of Approval: A "must try."


This started off with a nose of slightly decaying wood. This may have been the power of suggestion, with the "doublewood" label and oaken color, but it definitely (briefly) had a very wooden scent. It was really nice, but it gave way to a sort of syrupy, candied, sweeter smell. It was like a nutty sherry. The taste was incredibly warm and smooth- not much smoke at all. There was a very slight spice that was eventually overwhelmed by that syrupy warmth previously detected in the nose. The overall experience of it reminded me of an autumn festival- a wooden, earthy atmosphere with warmth and sweetness being passed around. A very friendly, delicious and unique scotch. I wish the finish was a little longer, and that it had a little more spice/strength, but other than that, excellent.


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.


Very well-balanced; all elements are in harmony yet none are overpowering.

The initial aging in oak is what predominates on the nose with pleasant aromas of honey,vanilla and dried spices.

The palate begins with maple syrup and honey then the sherry influence takes over in the back palate turning to dried almonds. The almonds continue in the finish which then ends with a quick hit of vanilla spice.

A very pleasant whisky and what I would reach for as an everyday scotch.


My first taste of anything from Balvanie. Tried it on the recommendation of buddy, JVT (Good one, Tass!). Loved the nose and very well balanced taste. I really like the small dose of sherry. Very mild and light finish, so this seems like it would be a very approachable and universally enjoyed Scotch.


This is the Balvenie´s double wood. The whisky matured in a whisky oak and spent few months in a sherry cask.

Legs are thin not so close to one another and go down the glass not so quickly after a while.

After adding water a teardrop of water fuity flavour and sherry appears, while nosing. Taste remains almost the same, but you can feel the fruit and sherry more. Still the taste disappears quickly and there´s almost no finish at all.

I am not a skilled gourmand, so have a look on other reviews, but I all in all like Balvenie´s double wood. It is a pretty nice whisky. The taste is nice, but the taste is not that rich as you get in other whiskies in the same price range. And the finish simply won´t come.


I have had this bottle open for a year now and just got back to it. With only half the bottle left it has improved from the time I first opened it. I know it has because I finished the second half relatively quickly. I see this in more cases than not, that some of the unpleasant tastes seem to fade with a little time.

David Stewart master distiller for Balvinie says the Double Wood is aged for 12 years in American bourbon casks. After 12 years only some of barrels are transferred into Sherry Butts for an average of 9 months. The sherry butts are combined with remaining barrels to marry for an additional period of time.

The fact that not all the barrels go into sherry butts along with the moderate time in sherry butts gives the Double Wood a lighter sherry note. It’s this lighter sherry note that allows the American oak barrels to come through, tastes of vanilla and honey. The sherry adds the pleasing dried fruit flavors and a spicy peppery kick I really enjoy in any whisky.

Smell: Light sherry with a slight cola note is the first thing that hits the nose, an appealing sent. With more time to air in the glass the neutral scotch smells come out, malted barley and the vanilla and honey from the American barrel. I can smell orange zest, green apples, candied fruit, and bubble gum.

Palette: Double wood has a good malted flavor along with a bran cereal taste. A little oily mouth feel but in a nice way. It has light floral notes. It has a custard taste and very pleasing pepper burn that I look for in any whisky.

Finish: The finish is moderate only because all the flavors are on the lighter side. It’s not a cherry bomb that lasts for 15 minutes. It’s a well balance collection of flavors that fade into a neutral scotch finish.

Conclusion: The biggest complaint about this scotch is that there’s not enough sherry to it. It is exactly this that I like about it. It’s not a one dimensional cherry bomb like some. Double Wood is a complex and well balanced scotch with the all its flavors on the lighter side. Some of the lighter flavors have to be sought out. DW is not going to blow you away but sometimes I don’t want to be blown away. Price is another added virtue, it’s reasonably affordable and that merits an extra point in my book bringing it to a 90. There is a good balance to this malt for what it is, a Sherried scotch.

The Double Wood has no peat, smoke or salt to it at all. It’s a lightly sweet, floral, fruity, malted, peppery scotch. I decided to add 5ml of Laphroaig Ten to 90 ml of the Double Wood and it added another light layer of complexity I really enjoyed.

Thx for the comments,

It’s like that with scotch, flavor profiles change or my tastes seem to change and then they discontinue them.

I just read your review on the Balvenie 10y Founders Reserve and your description “This is a beautiful little whisky, and I think that it is enjoyable by any whisky lovers who can appreciate subtlety and complexity.” is how I would describe this DW. If I find one I’ll grab it.

It’s funny what you can find in an out of the way liquor store. While on vacation driving though the back roads of Tennessee I came across a liquor store that had an old discontinued bottle of Old Charter 13y, I snapped it up.

I had, and reviewed, a very nothing-y bottle of Doublewood which also became much better after a period of oxidation exceeding a year. I have also tasted much better Doublewood immediately upon opening the bottle than the first bottle of it I had. Pity I re-gifted the second, and better, bottle before tasting it.

If you get a chance at finding an old bottle of Balvenie 10 yo Founders Reserve, pick it up. It is a lot better than Doublewood.


Mostly agreeable but I found this rather underwhelming as an experience. I enjoyed every drop but i'm not that sad that it's all done.

Nose: Spice (cinnamon?), warm oak, vanilla and a drop of liquorice promises something a bit special.

Mouth: But it doesn't really deliver on that promise for me. Extremely gentle, maybe a little too polite, a spice note gives way to a salty lick before a honey sees it off to bed.

After: The honey really lasts but in a very understated way. I'd say the double-barrel would be a great whisky to serve up to someone who wasn't a huge fan.

Sweet, more complicated and polite that you might have first realised. Great fist girlfriend material but...you wouldn't want to marry her!

I was given two different bottles of Doublewood from two different people, clearly originating from two different batches. I was at first expecting great things since I had really delighted in the Balvenie 10 yo Founders Reserve. The first bottle of Doublewood was totally nothing-y and highly disappointing, though it turned into something pretty tasty after it had oxidised for 18 months. The second I gave away after having tasted the first, but it turns out that the now 'my sister's bottle', the second one, was much more flavourful than the first one I had been given. McGrain, see if you can try some Founders Reserve: that one I recommend wholeheartedly. It is hard to find now, but there are still a few bottles that turn up in odd places.

Thank you sir, noted.


Review: Hi everyone! This is my first whisky review here, so please, don't be hypercritical about it. It was my first “the Balvenie” experience, but I’m sure you, that before I review it, I'm having a couple of dram of it every evening during last days and making some notes, so now here they are in one review. I have to say, that I am big fan of Glenmorangie distillers talent, but The Balvenie single malt double wood 12Yo impressed me a lot in a good sense of this word from the very beginning - when I take a bottle to my hand at first time and till the last finish taste of it's dram. I do like the bottle form very much (it similar to 17 century mixture bottle, gives your winery absolute otherwise view, more charming I say), the color of liquid and of cause the content of it. Just yesterday by the true way of miracle I was able to bought the Glencairn Glass here in Kiev, Ukraine. So at the same evening I was ready to explore all the diversity of whisky-emotions in a rightfully way! Okay let's do it.

Color: rich, intensive amber-honey, not typical for 12 Y.o but more for 15-18 y.o. is


Nose: sherry, dried fruits, duchess pear, shade of vanilla and quite a bit of haze Palate: smooth, well balanced, roundish, though enough but without any alcohol kick at all, pretty sweet with fruits and lights of vanilla cream with sherry Finish: long, warm, with floral-fruits notes and light flavor of smoked oak at the end

WITH A FEW ICE DROPS: it become smoother and less alcoholicity, more fruits and creamy Nose: less sherry, more dried fruits, apple, creamy, vanilla has become much more expressive and now there are traces of peach. Palate: smooth, well balanced, roundish, sweet with hints of apple, little bit of spices, dried fruits, sherry, light flavor of smoked oak moved to very end Finish: long, warm, satisfying, sweet, with not intrusive flavor of smoked oak and sherry at the end

Summation: exceptional malt, very palatable and drinkable whisky, pleasure emotions guaranteed, recommend, but be careful with ice drops cause you may ruin all the nose and taste symphony. Great scotch single malt 12 yo!

Rate: 88/100


I do enjoy this whisky very much these hot days. I've got quite some bottles open, but seem to favor this one every time I feel like having a dram or two.

It's very aromatic, smooth and pleasant whisky. It's body is a bit watery and sweet. Not the best out there. But the finish is just magnificent for my taste. Almost bourbonish, spicy. A welcome member of my cabinet)

Nose: candy, aromatic, red apple, sherry Body: a bit watery and sweet Finish: vanilla, wax, honey, sultanas


Sweet sweet custard notes come in to play on the nose with sufficient hints of honey. The palate is a warm tingly mix of apple stew with a dollop of sherry on top. The finish is surprisingly long for a Speyside this mild with nicely balanced sweet notes covered in peat. But overall this single malt is not upto Balvenie's usual high standards.


The Balvenie 12 year old Double Wood is an everyday whisky because of flavours which do not create a sense of dread when encountered repeatedly. This also helps support the sense that the Double Wood tastes like whisky can be expected by many.

The nose is sweet and largely vanilla, although both refreshing and very light bitter notes can be detected, very leafy smells, both of them.

The taste begins sweet, mainly because the nose set an expectation of fruity flavours. This occurs every time, regardless of familiarity with this dram, however quickly moves into the main body of the palate. Interestingly, on passing the core of the Double Wood's palate is of light smoke, with complimentary sherry notes. However, close inspection reveals that the 'smoke' is really a combination of walnut and cinnamon spiciness.

The finish is a respectable length, and merely involves the taste building, then waning rapidly. The taste which builds may be nutty, or smokey depending on how much attention is paid on the palate.

Not a very complex whisky, but with a lot of personality. Great as a pathway to more peaty Highlanders, and useful for solitary contemplation.


This Whisky carries a Medium finish. Peppery. With a hint of fresh baked bread.Alittle water opens up the bouquet a bit and mellows the bite over the palate. Neat or with a few drops of water this is a very fine Scotch Whisky


Nose: Pine, creme brulee, raisins, cinnamon, apricots, nougat Taste: Grass, pepper, apricot, burnt toast, lime, nice mix of sherry and wood Finish: Fruity then develops into oak, syllabub?


the doublewood is the entry level Balvenie. It is a sherry finish (as opposed to the signature, which combines some sherried whisky). It is available in supermarkets and airports and retails around £32, although is often discounted (currently £25 in my local Morrisons!). Balvenie make 5.6 million litres of spirit a year, none of which goes into blends. So by inference this is a big international seller.

Nose: Much lighter than expected. Oranges. Spicy and lightly charred Dundee cake. Taste: Light sherry, with lighter vanillas soon becoming apparent, as is a light nuttiness and the juicy Seville oranges which becomes slightly bitter at the end.

Overall, this is a highly drinkable whisky with a classic Speyside taste profile. Stock up in Morrisons!

Slight correction. Balvenie does contribute to a blend, however one that is a vatted malt, i.e., a whisky composed of 2+ single malts. That vatted or blended malt is Monkey Shoulder which also contains Glenfiddich as well as Kininvie (sp?) malts.


I've never seen a bad review of the Balvenie 12 Year Double Wood. I was excited to finally take home a bottle as I had been waiting for room to open up on the shelf.

What greeted me was a nose of sweet vanilla, some grassy/floral suggestions, and unidentified non-citrus fruit (i'm thinking apple). Vanilla and grain were first on the palate, but then it all went sour/bitter and moldy along with pepperish flavors. Lucky for me the finish was fairly short and light vanilla/oak.

The addition of water only increased the bitterness and mold flavor although it did provide the nose with some nice additions I couldn't put my finger on.

Final Analysis: This one is good for the nose but bad for the tongue. That said, there are worse bottles out there at higher prices and the goal is to try them all, right?

@maxrecline, I gave Balvenie Doublewood the same grade which you did in my review of it. My reviewed bottle has never impressed me in a good way. That said, my sister has a bottle of it which tastes much better than my bottle. These are probably batch variations. It does happen with whiskies. I've learned to be cautious about the fact that two bottles of the same whisky may taste rather different from one another.

Thank you for your review! I haven't written notes for the Balvenie 12 Double Wood because I wondered if I was losing my mind. The sour/bitter thing you describe is killing me!


I am new(er) to scotch, having enjoyed more blended Canadian and Irish whiskeys in the past.

This was a great introduction to a rich, deep smokiness from the double wood, it did not disappoint. There is a sweetness that also made it great for, what I would characterize, as my developing palate. I appreciated the sweetness.

Note: I enjoyed this drink over two cubes, after letting it sit for ~5 minutes...

Any notes/suggestions are more than welcome.

I think what @PeatyZealot means is enjoy your whisky any way you like it, but you might enjoy a richer experience of what this bottle has to offer without the ice. Chilling whisky decreases evaporation, which weakens the nose, and of course the melting ice will water down the whisky quite a bit. That said, I drank my single malts with ice for about five years before I graduated to neat. Drink on and enjoy!

Single malt on ice cubes...?!


Five years ago i would not touch a single whisky. I did not like whiskies, and my memory of whiskies back than were of low quality blends, which did not attract me. When i was offered a dram I would say, no. Then, one Evening I visited my friend Kfir, and he offered me dram. I asked him if he had anything good, and although his collection back then was smaller than today, he had a few Glenmorangies and a Balvenie Double wood. I chose that one based on his recommendation. The rest is history. I completely fell in love with that dram that evening, and kept on wanting more of it. The next week, i got myself a bottle and have not stopped drinking blogging and acquiring more and more bottles since then.

I’ve tasted 100’s of whiskies since then, but will always have a warm spot for that first dram.

As weird as it is, I have have countless bottles of the DW, but never really sat down to write my own tasting notes. In addition to tasting the DW again, and taking notes, I also tried the Signature 12, and Single Barrel 15, as to be able to compare, having tasted them in the past, but not in the same tasting session. So, here goes. Double wood, mon amour.

Nose : lovely nose. Caramel, butterscotch , vanilla, stewed apples With cinnamon sticks in the middle. A little citrusy edge to it as if lemon drops were applied. The sultanas and dried fruit are also there and very noticeable. Palate: pretty strong sherry goodness, wood (double?) , dried fruit , malty with golden syrup. Dried banana too. Apples are In the background and the sherry is king. Finish: dark chocolate , wood, cocoa and plums


The Balvenie 12yo double wood is a nice whisky, creamy with notes of vanilla,pear,raisin,sherry wine and fresh cut wood. i find it better after it settle's down for a few minutes in the glass. you cant go wrong with this one! also a very nice bottle too.

Oh yeah. My first taste of this was in a lower east side pub and I was very most satisfied. Without knowing the price of the bottle, I assumed it would cost me a pretty penny. A penny that I would have happily departed with for such a smooth taste. I used that penny to buy a better bottle. The balvenie 21 portwood. But I cannot wait to add her to my shelf. Mmmmmmm. Thanks for the review. Love to hear more about the many others you have sampled. I will stay tuned.


Yeah, the title says it all about this expression from The Balvenie. The spirit can stand straight up with classic Balvenie character still available through the Sherry treatment but then a splash of water opens new territories to be explored, see end of review...

A lovely amber due to the young Sherry cask.

Nose: The Oloroso Sherry tone is immediate and forceful; no hiding it spent time in that cask. Earthy, minerally and a light peaty vapour along with apricot and orange zest when uncut then a faint apple and pear added when splashed with water. While it sits you can pick up undertones of almonds, honey, vanilla, tannic oak, cedar, heather, and some pepper. The house character is here but a bit tricky to discover through the Sherry overtone.

Taste: Initially neat the palate is treated to a more forceful peat, slightly sweet malt, Sherry, citrus, peppery, boozy and may I say minty notes. When cut, you can then find more nutty, heather, wild flowers, pear, and a faint metallic quality.

Finish: Long lasting with a noticeable tingle of alcohol and spice, dry and tannic. When cut it shortens the finish dramatically and brings about a minerally characteristic.

Mouth feel: Medium bodied with a rich, oily and a bit abusive house character, adding water soothes the feel but then makes it almost too oily.

Overall: Personally I preferred to drink a shorter dram straight due to the finish and mouth feel becoming flabby with water added. It would be noted that if giving to a friend who is not that familiar to the scotch whiskey I would still serve with H20.

(Original notes from 10 August 2010)

I've just bought a bottle of this after trying a dram last year... this is a highly enjoyable Whisky that for me punches well above its weight and is as good if not better than many highly rated 18 year olds. Definitely no water required.

No water for me, it's so smooth already. Nice review.


I bought this after simply running out of options at the store I frequent near my home. It could be better that I eyed it for so long as I was able to really appreciate this dram.

The nose is oak and sherry, vanilla, cinnamon, and honey. Not overpowering but not imperceptible - but somewhere in the middle.

The palate is everything the nose promised - plus some nice dark fruits. None of the flavors seem to fight for each other; they work together to present a wonderful expression of flavor that I wasn't expecting given previous reviews that I've read.

The finish is primarily the fruits, cinnimon and vanilla, and is pleasantly sweet. The finish is also not as oily as some other expressions and ends rather abruptly, leaving me wanting more.

This is a surprisingly good dram, and the only detractor I could find is the abrupt finish. But, that may not be a negative point for some, and all it meant for me was that this bottle was finished much faster than previous competitors in my cabinet.

nice review, this is a surprisingly good Whisky for the price, next step up from this is the Aberlour 18 yo


I only drank that in pubs. But often enough that I think I can review it.

First off, it's good. Pretty good indeed. Very drinkable. Too much even, maybe.

Like it's neighbor glenfiddich, it's soft and smooth, not really needing any water.

The nose is very nice, gentle but complex. we can get some nice smooth vanilla, lightly grilled malt and wood. And that sweet honeyed touch.

The body is nice and delivers dry fruits and a sweet follow-up on that grilled malt and honey. And the vanilla is there.

The finish is quick, but i think that's why you can so easily drink too much of it: you just wnat more out of it.


This was my second bottle of Scotch I bought. The decision to go with the Balvenie 12DW was for the simple reasoning that, unlike my first bottle (HP12) I wanted to try an expression without a peaty influence and a style that was "different".

I was not ready for the so called "sherry bomb" but wanted an introduction to a sherried Scotch. The B12DW seemed to fit my need and I found not to be disappointed by my choice.

*This dram review was taste tested neat, 12 oz. snifter, hand warmed.

Nose: The sherry and oak seem to volley for attention with a background of dried fruit in a very light coating of honey, hint of cinnamon.

Palate: With a thin oily slickness, a honey maltiness works along side the aged oak and young sherry influence on a soft handed spiced ride.

Finish: A medium length close with the dried fruit upfront, a soft spice fade with the oak and sherry finding harmony.

Balance: Giving this dram time and warming, I found the nose to open and the taste to really grow on me as the oak and sherry notes became more in harmony with the balance of other flavors.

I remember when I finished my first dram of B12DW and a few minutes later smelling the empty glass...ahh, cinnamon! I thought that nuance to be so cool. It's these "little" experiences that helped me realize what fun and unique this Scotch / whisk(e)y journey will be...and it is!


I may not drink this in what one may call the "right" way -- I like it best chilled with the rocks on the side. It is palatable for those who aren't looking for something smokey. My absolute favorite.


The Balvenie's 12 yr old DoubleWood is matured in bourbon barrels all but the last few months of its maturation at which point it is transferred to European oak sherry casks

Nose: sherry, honey, a little malt, a hint of peat

Taste: some sherry first, then malt, then a little honey. There is some subdued peat here as well, and just a hint of nut flavour

Finish: the sherry takes over the finish, but it is still not a very full sherry flavour. The other flavours are present, but take a back seat to the sherry

Balance: this seems to me to be a badly proportioned whisky. It has enough sherry to muddy the other flavours on delivery and finish, but not enough to establish a rich full sherry flavour. I would tell The Balvenie to either double (or triple) the sherry cask maturation time or to forget the sherry cask maturation entirely. A "sherry bomb" whisky is one valid approach, but this is too tepid to make it there. There is just enough sherry to mess things up here but not enough to establish something desirable. I prefer the 10 yr Founder's Reserve approach, where there is some sherry included in the flavours, but not enough to muddle the other flavours. For what it is worth, Jim Murray in his 2011 Whisky Bible, sees these two whiskies' relative net ratings similarly to the way that I do

Laudable Oxidation! A full 14 months after opening and half completing this bottle of Balvenie 12 yo Doublewood, the flavours have shifted in a very good way. Right now this same bottle would rate an 85 from me. The chemical changes must have occurred recently because I have sampled this bottle many times previously and never much liked it.

There are batch effects with Doublewood too, I have found. My sister has a bottle which tasted quite good right upon opening, and nothing like my current bottle of 14 months-at-first-not-so-great Doublewood.

It seems that most commenters like this whisky a good bit, and many recommend it as a good affordable whisky. There is also a vocal and spirited minority (including Jim Murray) who have experienced it similarly to the way I did for the first 14 months.


I was very surprised at how good this whisky was considering the price. Beautiful on the nose with an alluring woody sherry and honey caramel, super-silky on the tongue with a definitive evolution in the two stages of wood maturation..a lovely spicy honey finish.. very moorish and as good as many a pricier12- 15 yo I've tasted recently.. highly recommended


I had heard so many good things about The Balvenie 12 yr Double Wood that a few months ago I added the bottle to my cabinet. I have to admit that initially I didn't get what all the hubbub was about, but it has grown on me the more I have it.

Nose: On first whiff it smells strongly of sherry, honey, and malt. On further reflection wafts of stewed prunes, vanilla, walnuts, rose potpourri, and a latex paint (never would have thought of that as a good note before - but it is here) make themselves known. A pleasant nose but not one I need to sniff for hours.

Palate: Sweet. Initially it mimics the malty sherried honey of the nose, then it transitions to a mild cinnamon and vanilla spice. The malt aspect reminds me of Clynelish 14. Quite nice.

Finish: The sweetness on the palate pleasantly shifts to a mild coffee-like bitterness. Oaky. That then fades into more vanilla and spice. The finish is long and after the bitterness leaves my mouth tastes like I just drank a sweet bourbon instead of scotch!

In the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory there is a scene where a girl samples a gum that tastes like a full 3 course meal, before Oompa Loompas roll her away as an inflated blueberry. This is what this whisky reminds me of. It takes you through many flavor profiles that have definite beginnings and ends. For me it is the finish that really makes this scotch. For its price you really can't do much better.


This Balvenie (excuse me: 'The Balvenie'!) was part of a gift box that I got from my co-workers for my birthday. Tonight I decided to give it a go.

This single malt get his character - like the name implies - by maturing on two types of casks: first the American ex-bourbon oak and then finished for several months on oloroso sherry casks.

The dram makes nice tears in your glass. I kinda like that.

The nose is very sweet with fruits and a whole jar of honey. The sherry is very prominent, almost dominating. You can also smell the spices. A very interesting nose at least.

The dram fills your mouth completely with fruits and spices, more or less a continuation of the nose. But the whole is delicously smooth. Basically this is a good dram for beginners (while connoisseurs can still learn a thing or two). It's very accessible whisky, really.

The finish, which I found rather short, brings out toffee, but it's the sherry that dominates again. At the death, the oak comes to beg for another sip.

The whisky is warm and inviting, as if you are slipping into a hot bath, ready to take on a good book.

Very drinkable, easy for beginners, nice wood, spice, sweetness. Easy to find here in the states - Trader Joe's has it.

@Sassberto yeah this is a great all rounder, I can see why it's one of the best selling whiskies here in the UK.


Let me preface this by saying that this is a favorite of mine, I love this whiskey. This is also a dangerous review since I am sitting at home and at any moment my significant other may storm through the front door and catch me writing this with a glass poured up next to my laptop. The problem with this, the sun is still above the horizon and I have chores to be doing. So if I suddenly stop writing at any moment, you'll know why.

This Balvenie opens with a great nose of that trademark honey, caramel, and oak but only after adding just a small dash of water to coax out the aromas.

The body is rich and oily almost, and very smooth.

As you take the first sip you again smell that great honey aroma as you bring the glass to your lips but once you get your first taste things begin to change. The taste of oak fills your mouth, with nutty undertones at times and a slight sweetness that kisses at your palate. A small amount of fruit lies beneath as well but takes a few sips to begin to notice, and this discovery makes it all the better.

The finish is short and sweet, literally, with a hint of sherry and the very last thing your left with is that oak, standing on the back of your throat waiting for the next reinforcement.

At its price point (I payed $30 US for it) its very attractive, enough to give the more experienced something to think about while being easy enough for the novice to learn a thing or two.

I'm tempted to pick a bottle up this weekend; every cabinet should have one.

I agree, every cabinet should have one. One of the easiest to drink. Anyone from the experienced to the complete novice can appreciate this.


This isn't the best scotch I've ever tasted, by far, but it's a nice "everyday" scotch. Not nearly as sweet as many other scotches in its price-range (e.g., the Macallan 12), which I like quite a bit.

The oak notes are prominent, as you might expect -- especially on the nose and at first sip, and the sherry notes round out the finish without being over-dominant. More burn/alcohol flavor than some might like, but it manages to be a smooth scotch nonetheless.

Highly recommended, especially for those who like oakier scotches (e.g., the Macallan Fine Oak 10).

Welcome @cpence

Agreed. If you like it oaky this is a good de facto whisky, its a good bottle to have in your cabinet.

Should note here as well -- benefits from a slight cut with a bit of fresh water, which opens up the nose a bit and makes it a bit smoother.


The Balvenie Double Wood opens up with a rich, warming aroma full of red dried fruit sweetness. Further nosing lets you discover some apple and makes you hungry for a piece of rum-filled cake.

You could keep on nosing for minutes before taking the first sip, and to be honest this is when you reach the climax of this dram.

Where the nose is quite complex and would give you the feeling this is a rich, full bodied dram, you could end up getting disappointed.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad dram at all. It has a medium-light body with a sweet opening in flavour, immediately followed by a peppery sensation that causes this whisky to lose some of its schwung...too bad.

The aftertaste takes more to the initial nosing and tends to last a half a minute, but you've got to sense beyond the stingy feel. The last thing that'll fade away slowly in your throath will be some bitterness. Again...too bad.

Personally, I find that whiskies with great noses, but average body and taste, can be made excellent, by taking a big lungful as you take a sip, and not to leave it on the tongue too long. That way, you get the effects of the nose to last well into the finish. Mind you, if the finish isn't great, that will still leave you disappointed.

I too raised an eyebrow at the subtitle... ;)

Ha! I thought this was spam when I first saw the title :-)

I like this whisky - it is a bit of a pub favourite - but on the upper end of the scale.


Nice sweet nose. First sip was a little disappointing I got the sherry notes - wasn't getting smooth and mellow - more body and more a bit of burning feel than I was expecting. However as the glass went down and drank slower certainly got the positive warming finish. But I'm a novice so probably mostly talking crap.

Might try something a little lighter next time. Any recommendations?

The Balvenie isn't necessarily a good starter scotch. It has a strong flavor - a lot of wood notes come through loud and clear. Glenfiddich is a better starter - it is relatively unremarkable and while its blandness can make it a bit boring after a while, it makes it an ideal gateway to the larger scotch world that lies beyond. Once you reach that stage, you are ready to try The Balvenie again.

By the time you're half way through this you'll be really enjoying, I know I did.


This or Talisker are my everyday whiskeys, not that I drink whisky everyday you understand ;)

I like the hint of citrus on the nose which gives way to a pleasing sweetness. Round on the palate with a hint of vanilla oak and comfortingly warming.

Just right for those after dinner moments by the fire.

I wonder if Balvenie have changed the Doublewood somehow in the past year. I bought a bottle recently at Schiphol duty free, and it didn't seem anywhere near as smooth and rich as previous bottles I have enjoyed. It used to be one of my favourite 'everyday' tipples (well, once a week at least), but I'm going off it a bit now.

I'd take Talisker over The Balvenie but its a good whisky.

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