Balvenie Doublewood 12-Year-old review and tasting notes
If you are looking for a soft, approachable, but never dull single malt Scotch, the 12-year-old Balvenie Doublewood is a great spirit, especially if you are not an expert whiskey drinker. The fact is very simple: if you have never drunk Scotch whiskey, but are hesitant and afraid of burning yourself with Islay peat, try this 12-year-old single malt from Speyside and you will be delighted. It has everything you need to satisfy the palate and nose of a not too demanding enthusiast: velvety and quite complex taste, oxidized notes, flowers, honey, slightly peaty nose, discreet thickness and stellar drinkability. What is missing? Let’s say that for an entry-level single malt whiskey it is excellent, even considering the very honest cost that is around 45-50 euros. But you don’t have to ask too much: it was born as a jaunty whiskey, stylized and a little sly, too worked and softened, even if it is not lacking in cleanliness and territoriality. If you taste another 12 years, the triple cask of the Balvenie distillery, you will understand that it is not so much a matter of years of aging, but of the fabric of the malt: the years in cask are the same, but the aromatic depth, the nuances and the purity of the malt are of a completely different kind. The cost is different too, at least 90 against the 45 of this double.
This does not mean that it is a cheap or banal whiskey, but it does not disappoint, just that you need to know what you are buying.
How is Balvenie Doublewood 12 produced?
After the malting of the barley, the malt is dried with a fire powered by peat, which leaves a very light smoke in the cereal. The malt is minced, hot water is added, fermented and then the wort is distilled two times. The peculiarity is the refinement which lasts 12 years, the most conspicuous part of time takes place in American white oak barrels used to produce Bourbon and only later it rests in barrels used to make the legendary oloroso sherry. The refinement is designed to make the fruit hot, oxidized the right way, but not to lose its fruity vivacity. You shouldn’t expect an oxidized and decadent bomb full of nutty flavors, as much as a velvety and sweet whiskey, lightly smoked with lots of vanilla and cherries, but not too almondy. We do not want to say that it looks like a Bourbon, this is not, but the spicy and soft influence is there and is strongly felt.
Organoleptic characteristics of Balvenie Doublewood 12
The bouquet is enveloping, dominated by ripe cherries in alcohol, red fruit, vanilla and cinnamon. A light floral touch, in classic Speyside style, helps to make the sweetness of the nose less massive. Mild medicinal traces, controlled and final oxidation of vanilla, wood and nutty tones of dried fruit. Honey and a light thread of peat to close. Overall it is a perfect synthesis of harmony and balance, everything is studied in the smallest detail to offer a solar and intriguing cross-section, but not very deep.
On the palate it is very soft, the sip is pure velvet and flows easily, leaving an aftertaste of spices, malt biscuit and cooked apples. The structure is medium-bodied, the honey softens, but there are pleasant returns of orange that refresh. The tannins are soft, the wood is not bulky, but it helps to give a minimum of variety. Spicy and date tones to close lightly.
In summary, it is a well-made single malt Scotch, impeccable and clean, flowing, perfect for making an unpretentious glass, but in any case never banal. If you want to approach the world of Scottish whiskey for the first time, try it and you will not be disappointed, if you are used to strong flavors, know that it is not a giant.
Price of the Balvenie Doublewood 12
45 euros: an honest price that reflects the decent quality of the distillate.