Gabe's View

Wine: Reviews, Thoughts & Culture

The Balvenie – 17 Year Old DoubleWood Single Malt Scotch

Posted by Gabe on November 28, 2012

The Balvenie, a range of Single Malt Scotches from the Speyside region of Scotland, has recently added a new release to their portfolio. The Balvenie 17 Year Old DoubleWood was released this year to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of their Malt Master David Stewart. Among the things that set The Balvenie apart are the strict control they retain over several aspects of the production process. Growing their own barley and employing their own staff of coopers to handle every cask are but two examples. I’ve been a fan of the Balvenie range for a bit now, and the 12 Year Old DoubleWood is one I go to on a regular basis. So it was with particular interest that I sat down to taste the 17 year DoubleWood to see how it stacks up.

The Balvenie 17 Year Old DoubleWood was matured in two diverse types of oak casks. First it spends a greater than normal period in traditional Whisky Casks. What follows is a shorter period of time in Oak Sherry Casks. This last period lasts between several months and a year. It’s a hands on process that requires the Whisky being checked regularly to ascertain that it’s taken out of the Sherry Casks at precisely the right time to achieve the desired influence. While this new release has been added to celebrate David Stewart’s Anniversary it is now part of The Balvenie Core range of offerings. The 17 Year Old DoubleWood is available nationally and has a suggested retail price of $129.99.

The beautiful light copper hue of The Balvenie 17 Year Old DoubleWood is striking as soon as you pour this Single Malt Scotch into your glass. The nose is a bit reticent at first but just a few minutes of air work magic and aromas of toasted hazelnut, vanilla bean and light spices emerge. The flavors here have an impressive purity, depth and layered precision. Dried orchard fruits, warming spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom are all in evidence and tinged by honey. This is a remarkably smooth Scotch from the initial taste through the persistent echoes of the lengthy finish which shows off orange zest, bits of toffee and continued reverberating spices.

This new addition to The Balvenie range is an impressive selection that is worthy of their portfolio. There are some common threads as well as numerous distinct differences between it and the younger 12 Year DoubleWood. If you are already a fan of The Balvenie Family of Scotches you’ll certainly want to give the 17 Year DoubleWood a shot. If you’re new to their range this is certainly an impressive place to start your journey.

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