Balvenie Double Wood 12 Year Old


The Balvenie Double Wood 12 years old has some historical significance to me and a lot of historical significance to the whisky industry.  For me it was the last bottle of whisky I bought in Scotland before moving back home to LA (I moved back to Scotland not long after) after finishing my masters degree. At the time, I just thought it looked nice and it was on sale at the super market. I suspect this is how most people first buy it. It really is an attarctive bottle. Only much later did I learn the true significance of this expression.

The concept of double wood is now commonly refered to as finishing. This is where whisky is first matured in one type of cask (typically ex-bourbon) and then moved to another type of cask to impart different flavours (often ex-sherry casks). While this is a wide spread practice these days it was not the case before the 1980’s. That’s when master blender David Stewart, of William Grant & Sons, decided to try a little experiment which he called double wood (finishing). This expression is a descendent of that first experiment and thus symbolizes one of the great innovations in the whisky industry and certainly one of the crowning achievements of David Stewart’s long and fruitful career.

So this ain’t your ordinary dram! It’s got history!

Distillery: Balvenie Distillery

Age: 12 Years Old

Cask: Matured in refill American oak ex-bourbon casks then finished in first fill European oak ex-sherry casks.

ABV: 40%

Price: £36.88 at the Master of Malt




Sticky prickly sweet like sticky toffee pudding with concentrated fruit Syrup. Over ripe figs like fig newtons. Malty like them too!


Spicy sweetness like light mulled wine. Cinnamon, sherry, fig newtons again. Cheese cake Graham cracker crust. Strawberry tarts with cream.


Old wet wood, mulled wine. Pretty long. Strawberry liqeur.




A richer dram but it doesn’t over power. Loads of depth for a whisky of this price bracket. Complex and intriguing. One could ponder on this for a while. Doesn’t exactly have that ooomph to get you riled up but lots to discover.



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