Balvenie 12 y.o. DoubleWood Review

A rather iconic, but very much ho-hum malt, in this chap’s ‘umble opinion. I don’t mean that as a sleight. Honestly, I don’t. I just mean that DoubleWood is a supermarket single malt if ever there was one. Available at discounted rates in Costcos and Superstores, taking up prime real estate in every neighbourhood ma and pa liquor store, and almost guaranteed to be available in any fine spirit retailer. It’s everywhere. And that makes sense, since DoubleWood is sort of the flagship of the Balvenie range.

Straight outta the gates…I like it just fine. But it’s Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup, in a way. Bland and inoffensive, but perfectly constructed and definitely drinkable. (Not to mention…it will probably make you feel better when you’re down!) I’m just not buying it. There are way more interesting whiskies out there.

Now, if I were as shallow as a certain fellow reviewer out there who many of us know – and was willing to award points for packaging(!) – this would definitely score an extra notch or two, ’cause let’s face it: Balvenie bottles look great. Clean, clear and classy. But…come on: that is utter nonsense. The whisky in the bottle is what counts, and that’s ultimately all that counts. The rest is just set dressing (and in some cases, lipstick on a pig). And as for the concept of ‘double wood’? Where do I start? Ex-American oak into ex-sherry wood. Not exactly innovative. I guess it all comes down to who brands things first, and who markets the concept to the widest audience.

Anyway, let’s wrap it up: safe, pleasant, pretty enough. Also, thin and rather easy to forget.

Oh, and 40% abv? Ugh! Come on, guys and gals. You’re better than that. All we’re asking is 46%.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Oh, so honeyed. Like honey poured over fresh fruit and eaten off a wooden spoon. A fresh floral top note. Gooseberry and orange marmalade. A touch of raspberry. Fresh plump raisin. Hot cross buns, or maybe warm brioche or something. Decent mid-palate spices. Led by pepper and ginger.

Palate: Oak and honey lead the charge. Slightly out of balance, I think. Berry fruit leather. More of those raisin notes. And firmly malty. Very dry cinnamon stick. A little too drying for my liking, almost tea-like.

Finish: Rather tannic and wearing the influence of the sherry quite prominently. Surprisingly lengthy for a 40%er.

Thoughts: Not bad. Far too thin, though.


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