By Richard Thomas
William Grant & Sons founded the Balvenie distillery in Speyside, Scotland in 1892. The company now owns a host of distilleries, including the Glenfiddich distillery, but the best scotch distilled under the William Grant & Sons banner remains the Balvenie. For more than a century, the Balvenie has grown its own barley on a 1,000-acre farm and malt it themselves using traditional methods. The Balvenie continues to employ its own coopers for making barrels and its own coppersmith to look after the distillery’s historic stills. The Balvenie’s Doublewood 12 Year represents the distillery’s basic, entry-level scotch.
The Balvenie bottles all of its scotch in the same simple-yet-characteristic clear glass bottle, with a Victorian-style label and a wood and cork stopper. The package leaves plenty of glass to show off the scotch’s coloring, which in the case of the Doublewood 12 Year is that of dark straw.
The Doublewood 12 Year is a single malt scotch that gets its name from its aging process, which is carried out in two different types of oak casks. The first stage is the main 12 years of aging, and uses bourbon barrels. The scotch is inished in old sherry casks for nine months. The contents of the individual casks of Doublewood are then brought together in wooden vat for another six months before bottling.
The nose on the Balvenie Doublewood is one of fruity sherry (imparted by the final stage of aging) blended with undertones of vanilla drawn from the prior decade spent in new oak. The scotch has a smooth, warm texture, and tastes of a nutty sweetness with a twist of cumin.
Price Tag: Prices for the Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year Old range between $37 and $50 per bottle, with the norm hovering around $40.