Balvenie DoubleWood 12-year Single-Malt Scotch

The Balvenie DoubleWood 12-year single-malt Scotch earns a solid 76 percent on the VLO Satisfaction Index; it's a decent malt that is thinner than it should be.

Balvenie Distillery

Balvenie single-malt Scotches are produced by William Grant & Sons, Speyside, Scotland — in the shadow of Balvenie Castle.

The Stats

  • Age … 12-year
  • Variety … Single-malt Scotch whisky
  • Region … Speyside, Scotland
  • Price Point … $45

The Vendor’s Claim

  • “The Balvenie DoubleWood is a 12 year old single malt which gains its distinctive character from being matured in two woods. Over its period of maturation it is transferred from a traditional oak whisky cask to a first fill European oak sherry cask. Each stage lends different qualities to the resulting single malt ~ the traditional casks soften and add character, whilst the sherry wood brings depth and fullness of flavour.”

The Experience

  • Appearance & Aroma … The initial aroma from the bottle was understated: It did not fill the room with the scent of Scotch, but it did have a softer and gentler nose than I had anticipated. Color is an orange-amber. 7/10
  • First Sip … Initial impression — thinness. Not weakness, per se, but thinness, as if it were less viscous than I’d expect a Scotch to be. The first sip went down smoothly, though, with a respectable degree of balance; no single flavor disrupted the harmony of the whole. 6/10
  • Flavor … Mild smokiness permeated the flavor, which — again — was rather understated. Hints of licorice and orange with a spicy tinge. 8/10.
  • Aftertaste … Warm and pleasant, with flavors on the front of the tongue reminiscent of black cardamom. Aftertaste subsided after an appropriate amount of time.  8/10
  • Bottom of the Bottle … This Scotch remained consistent throughout. 9/10

The Reflection

  • The Balvenie brand is jealously guarded by its distiller, and for good reason. This single-malt Speyside Scotch is smooth as an infant’s buttocks and considerably more tasty.  It does not overpower, although perhaps it could be stronger — but for the price, it’s a decent Scotch.

The VLO Satisfaction Index

  • This Scotch scores a 76 percent satisfaction rating. The Balvenie DoubleWood delivers solid performance. It does not lead the pack, but nor does it lag toward the rear.

Reviewed by Jason Gillikin.


About jason

Jason is the principal of Gillikin Consulting, a business-media and ethics consultancy based in Grand Rapids, Mich.