Review: Balvenie DoubleWood 17 year old

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Recently I was listening to the excellent debut album by Bloc Party, which remains their pinnacle. Midway through, the track 'Price of Gasoline' appears and I was humming the line 'the price of gas keeps on rising', then I was faced with this review.

My recent trip to America just highlighted how expensive whisky is in its country of origin thanks to taxes, legislation and shareholders. No Age Statement whiskies tend to receive the brunt of the criticism, as in many cases quite rightly, more is being charged than the staple entry distillery age statement. When we do have that age statement it does come at a premium and sometimes that cost is too much.

All this takes us onto the Balvenie who tend to do things the right way and put emphasis on their craft roots. Generally a decent standard is documented throughout, but its the limited Tun ranges that I would point anyone towards. With this 17 year old DoubleWood encroaching on £100 it might be worth saving up for a real treat, as I do remember this particular whisky being much better previously than it was at this specific tasting.

Distillery: Balvenie
Age: at least 17 years old
Strength: 43% vol
Price: around £81
Additional: combination of whisky cask and sherry oak utilised during maturation

Colour: sandal wood

Nose: an intense nose with delicate layers of toffee, maple syrup and gloves. Beyond awaits 5 spice, cinnamon, a twist of lemon and a concoction of shoe polish and freshly waxed leather footwear.

Taste: woody which I wasn't expecting honestly then lemon sponge; no maybe curd now and some bacon. Moving on Crème brûlée which accounts for the vanilla and a faint toasted edge.

Overall I'm somewhat perplexed having been blown away by this dram a couple of years ago. I'd be interested to know if the recipe has changed in the meantime? Possibly this is a batch and consistency issue; please take me back a couple of years, as on this showing it has disappointed and is overpriced.

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