The second whisky in our whisky club’s online blind tasting in April was The Balvenie Double Wood 12-year-old. This expression is a super smooth, well-rounded, dram. It is a classic Speyside whisky and a perfect place to start one’s whisky journey and then come back and visit once in a while like an old friend.
Balvenie Distillery is a Speyside Scotch Whisky distillery located in Dufftown, Scotland. It was established 1893 by William Grant & Sons. The facility now boasts 5 wash stills and 6 spirit stills with a capacity of 5,600,000 liters. Their Malt Master David Stewart is one of the experienced experts in the industry and is most well known for being the first to develop wood finishing techniques.
So what makes Balvenie different and stand out from the so many other Speyside Distilleries? Balvenie is the only Scottish Highlands Distillery that still grows a portion of the barley they use for distilling. Each year the plant, grow and harvest their own barley on their 1,000 acre farm, Balvenie Mains.
Balvenie is also one of the few remaining distilleries that uses a traditional malt floor facility. After soaking the barley in spring water, it is then spread out on the malt floor and turned by the malt men until the grain has chitted and is ready for the kiln.
The stills at Balvenie have a unique shape called the “Balvenie Ball”. This bulge at the base of the swan’s neck is said to allow the vapours more time to mix before continuing up to the head.
The Balvenie Double Wood 12-year-old is first matured in traditional ex-bourbon American oak which mellows the spirit imparts layers of vanilla spice. It then has a second maturation in European oak Sherry casks. This increases the complexity by adding fuity and honey notes to this flagship dram. Here’s my take!
Bottled at 40% ABV.
Nose: Sweet fruit and honey, sherry notes and vanilla.
Palate: Incredibly smooth, nuts, sweet sherry, cinnamon and vanilla.
Finish: Long and warming