Balvenie 17 Year Doublewood was introduced in 2012 as the distillery was radically shifting its lineup. For the first decade of the 2000s the 17 year old malts had primarily been a way to show off creative cask finishes and other production techniques. The Doublewood variant was clearly meant to be a permanent part of the range, building on the success of their entry-level 12 Year Doublewood. Like its younger sibling, it is composed of whisky matured in ex-bourbon casks that are then dumped into sherry casks for a relatively short period of time.
This whisky is bottled at 43% with coloring and chill filtration.
Thanks to PDXWhisky for letting me sample it.
Balvenie 17 Year Doublewood
Nose: balanced malt and dark sherry, green fruit (apples and pears), honey, mildly tannic oak, light wood spices and floral notes. After adding a few drops of water it becomes less sherried, highlighting the malt and wood spices.
Taste: honey throughout, sweet malt up front, growing sherry overtones from the middle back, syrupy vanilla in the middle with green fruits and orange peel, light oak and wood spices near the back with only a few prickles of tannins. After dilution it becomes sweeter throughout, more honied and malty than sherried, revealing orange liqueur in the middle and a dank oak-y nutmeg note at the back.
Finish: balanced malt and sherry, vanilla, very light oak
Compared to the younger 12 Year Doublewood, this is obviously richer and far more overtly sherried, clearly marking it out as the superior whisky. It can also be contrasted with the 16 Year Triple Cask, which sits in a similar position within its range, the latter having far more aggressive American oak notes and less sherry. I would choose the 17 Year Doublewood over either, but in the scheme of the entire whisky world it's just not a good enough value. Under $100 I think it would clearly beat many of the standard Glens at their game, but at $120+ there are too many other whiskies playing the same game better (Glendronach 18/21, Glenfarclas 17/21, etc).
8 hours ago