Whisky Focus - The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old

The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old

17th October 2012
The Balvenie announce the launch of a new addition to their core range, The Balvenie 17 Year Old DoubleWood.

The Balvenie core range of single malt whiskies has just gotten bigger with the addition of a 17 year old expression of the very popular Balvenie Doublewood.

I am told that this new 17 year old version shares the same DNA and the honeyed, spicy characteristics as the 12 year old, but it is distinctly different, with deeper vanilla notes, hints of green apple, creamy toffee and a striking richness and complexity.

To craft The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old, David Stewart, The Balvenie's Malt Master who this year celebrates his 50th year at The Balvenie, returned to one of his most celebrated achievements – consecutive maturation in two different types of cask, a process often referred to as ‘cask finishing’.

This technique is at the heart of The Balvenie DoubleWood – it sees the whisky matured for the majority of its years in American oak barrels, which impart soft sweet vanilla notes, before being transferred to European oak sherry casks for the last few months of maturation, where the second cask ageing adds rich spicy flavours that a depth and fullness of flavour.

Commenting on the release of The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old, David Stewart said: "It has been a real pleasure to create the DoubleWood 17 Year Old and I am delighted with the way it has turned out, as I hope Balvenie enthusiasts will be. Wherever I travel in the world, DoubleWood 12 Year Old is the expression that people are most likely to have enjoyed. It is also one of the whiskies I am most proud of when I look back over my 50 years at the distillery, which is why it has been so exciting to create this new older version."

The New Look Balvenie Core Range

The launch of The Balvenie DoubleWood, Aged 17 Years, marks the final piece in the jigsaw of a new look core range from The Balvenie which now looks like this:
  • The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old
  • The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year Old
  • The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old
  • The Balvenie PortWood, 21 Year Old

You will notice that I haven't listed The Balvenie Signature 12 Year Old or The Balvenie Single Barrel 15 Year Old as part of the new look core range, this is because they are being phased out next year but I have been told that there are more additions to the the Balvenie core range planned for next year, so watch this space.

With age statements acting as a consumer guide, added depth and interest is also to be found in the combination of wood finishes. The Balvenie UK Brand Ambassador Andrew Forrester says: "In completing the new core range of The Balvenie, we have an engaging and exciting collection of malts both for those starting out on their journey of whisky discovery and for connoisseurs alike."

The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old, 43% ABV has an RRP of £75 and will be available in the UK from 1st November 2012 and in the U.S. from October 2012 with a RRP of $129.99.

The Balvenie 17 DoubleWood Tasting Notes

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Rich, honeyed, vanilla and brown sugar, apple and cinnamon peaking through and a touch oak spice there also.

Taste: The mildly drying sherried fruit coats the mouth. Sweet honeyed malt mildly coated in spice. Brown sugar, fudge, cinnamon, marzipan, delicate oak.

Finish: Long, lingering slowly drying dark fruit. Cocoa, vanilla, fudge, bit of spice.

Comments: Another classic from David Stewart. A must try for the Balvenie 12 year old fans. More subtle and refined than its younger sibling with maybe a wee bit deeper sherry influence. Get one in your Christmas stocking this year, you wont regret it a 17 year old sherry finished Balvenie on Christmas evening after stuffing yourself with turkey, heaven.

SMW Score 91/100

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