The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 has been a strong part of the range since the 1990s when then Master Distiller and now Malt Master David Stewart created the “Balvenie core range”.
But there’s a new kid on the block now: The Balvenie DoubleWood 17, being released in store today.
This new release has been aged for an extra five years but holds onto the same tradition as the 12 year old version of being aged first in bourbon casks and then in sherry casks. It’s bottled at 43% and helps complete the company’s collection, as The Balvenie now offers the DoubleWood and the Signature (both aged 12 years), the Caribbean and the Golden Cask (each aged 14 years), the Single Barrel (15 year old), the DoubleWood 17, the PortWood (21 year old) and the Balvenie 30 and 40.
I managed to get a hold of a sample of this one, which I was excited to try. I keep the Signature and DoubleWood near to hand for nights when I just fancy an enjoyable, relaxed dram I can fill my glass with multiple times.
The 17 year old version was like a whisper in a glass when I first poured it – honey, golden raisins, black pepper and apples, drifted off in a gentle manner.
On the palate, there was a good black pepper spiciness, and a hint of creamy vanilla, fresh apricot and chamomile. As it moved through the mouth, there was a finish that reminded me of stewed black tea – slightly bitter and drying.
This was a delicate dram that would please many single malt lovers and a good showing to help complete The Balvenie collection.
My only question with this one is the price. The 12 year old is £29.95-£35 at most retailers. The 17 will be retailing for around £75, so it’s quite a hike up for an extra five years in the cask. As I am a big fan of the former, it would be difficult for me to stump up more than double the cash for the 17 year old.
But, as always, I recommend you give it a go. It’s a lovely dram and one to sit around the fire with for a few hours, and I’ve no doubt it will please The Balvenie fans globally.