The Balvenie needs no introduction, nor does the choice of including this expression in the entry level aged expression series need Justification. Incidentally, (and surprisingly) one of my most read posts ever was a review of the Balvenie Tun 1509.
I took these notes at an official tasting hosted by HaKerem, Balvenie’s local importer and led by a real brand ambassador (we don’t get too many of those here), Jonny Cornthwaite, who led the very enjoyable tasting which included the 12 and the 17 year old DoubleWood expressions, the Peated Cask (still available here) and the 21 PortWood (the 40% version, which I reviewed here).
I mentioned in the 21 Portwood post that Balvenie is one of the more traditional distilleries, and keeps a malting floor (malting about 15% of their own barley), and an active cooperage on site.
This expression is a very good entry level into higher graded single malts, and would be a natural step after a Glenfiddich 12 or Glenlivet 12, which are the first single malts most people encounter.
Balvenie DoubleWood 12 (40%)
Appearance: Amber, thick and quick legs.
Nose: Honey and notes of sherry, light notes of orange and coconut – classic Balvenie nose – with cinnamon, more citrus (but not specifically orange) and light dried fruit.
Palate: Honey with notes of pepper and dried fruit and some citrus rind.
Linger: Long and spicy with a slight dryness on the sides of the tongue, with a lingering all around sweetness.
This, like most anything out of the Balvenie, is a cut above and there’s a palatable quality to this whisky. However, presenting a craft whisky at 40%, chill filtered is so 1990s. I’d really like to see these expressions at 46% and non chill filtered, as befitting an industry leader in traditionalism.