Balvenie 17yo DoubleWood (not to be confused with the standard, 12yo version)


Speyside region – 43% ABV – $129

New to The Balvenie’s standard range is a 17yo whisky.

Before this launch, they had their 12yo Signature, 12yo DoubleWood, 15yo Single Barrel series (amazing series, people!) and a 21yo PortWood as their standard range.

There have been the one-off 17yo yearly releases such as the Madeira Cask, Islay Cask, Peated Cask, Sherry Wood, Rum Cask, etc…, etc…, etc…

What’s new this year is a now standard whisky: the 17yo DoubleWood.  Essentially, an older version of the 12yo.  At $40 (give or take) I’ve always found the 12yo DoubleWood to be one of the best buy whiskies out there.  With this one jumping nearly $90 in cost, let’s see what it does; what the differences are…

On the nose –  Kip Winger says she’s 17 but she don’t smell 17.

(Yes, I know that sounded a bit too off but, come on, you know who you’re reading folks!)

This juice has the youthful quality of light bright fruit upon first sniff (pears, which are slight, as well as green plums).

A touch of rain water and then some sherry notes pop in: dates, mainly, then a seemingly perfumed cola…

Nosing after a few sips and the wood starts to come through in a welcome way.

On the mouth – Packed full of light flavors:  Honey (“The” signature Balvenie character), light wood spice, white/yellow cherries.

Insanely approachable whisky.  Easy going.  Almost too easy.

Sugared breakfast cereal (thinking Alpha-Bits, to be sure).  Soft mouthfeel.

Not very viscous but again, easy.

Finish – Biscuits, buttered with honey and medium wood spice.

In sum – For my tastes, I think I like the 12yo DoubleWood over this 17yo.  Both are fine whiskies to be sure but I think the 12yo is a more challenging whisky and I’m one that likes to be challenged.

For those in the audience that is looking for what is quite possibly the easiest drinking whiskies I’ve had in a while, this baby is for you.

Special thanks to AW for the official sample!