This week's whisky is from The Balvenie Distillery, in Speyside. They are very proud of their crafted nature – growing their own barley, malting it on site and even having a team of coopers to care for their barrels.
Here we have their entry level whisky, the DoubleWood. Aged 12 years, part of that time is spent finishing in sherry casks, thus the name.
The nose is sweet and alcohol filled, with a creamy vanilla tone although without much evidence of that sherry. With a splash of water, the alcohol is pushed back and you start to smell more of the cask – more the sherry wood than the sherry itself, although there's a rich, sweet fruitiness just showing through.
On your tongue, the first thing that hits you is the sweetness – it's like licking a honeyed spoon. Then the alcohol puts in an appearance, bringing with it some gentle spice and a hint of that sherry, and some wood from the cask coming through at the end. It's smooth without being overly subtle.
Water surprisingly makes very little difference; the alcohol is less pronounced but you still have the honey start, the warming spice in the middle and a smooth, lingering sweet wood finish.
This is a wonderful dram; not hugely complex but gloriously drinkable. Given it's at the low end of their range, I can only imagine how good the rest of their whiskies taste!
This review was originally published 16th May, 2012. It was last updated 1st June, 2023.