Oh Taste & See: The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch

I've been working on this bottle of The Balvenie DoubleWood for a while, but realized that I had never posted a tasting, and since it's a perfect drink as summer cools into fall I figure now is the time. The Balvenie is one of the larger small Scotch distilleries, or one of the smaller large Scotch distilleries. The distillery was built in 1892, by William Grant. The company he founded, William Grant & Sons, is now a major producer of Scotch and other spirits, but Balvenie remains one of their prize products. Balvenie single-malts tend to be excellent, well-balanced whiskies that are widely available, so what's not to like?

The 12 year old DoubleWood is The Balvenie's entry level whisky, and it's a great, crowd-pleasing Scotch since it doesn't lean too heavily on any particular style or flavor. It's aged in both ex-bourbon barrels and ex-sherry barrels, giving it a very well-rounded character.

Color: The Balvenie has a rich honey-caramel color that's quite dark for a 12 year old Scotch.

Nose: The nose is rich, sweet, and warm with hints of honey and toffee. There are fruity undertones of ripe  apples, dried cherries, and milk chocolate. As it sits, a brown sugar aroma develops that makes it very inviting.

Flavor: This Scotch is extremely smooth with sweet flavors of oak, vanilla, and honey up front. The mouth-feel is thick and rich with a bit of buttered toast flavor. After a while more brown sugar and nutty flavors start to come out.

Finish: The finish is long, warm, and sweet. There are hints of raisins and figs and more sweet vanilla. At the tail end there's a hint of tar which isn't a bad way for such a sweet and smooth Scotch to finish off.

Overall, The Balvenie Double Wood is a great "everyday" single malt that hits a lot of key flavors without being overly aggressive with any of them. It's also one of the few whiskies that I strongly prefer to drink totally neat without a splash of water or ice cube. It's not weak, but it doesn't need any mellowing out at all...spot on.