David Stewart, who celebrated his 50th year at The Balvenie in 2012, returned to one of his most popular and celebrated achievements, the consecutive maturation in two very different casks, to manufacture DoubleWood 17-Year-Old whisky. The repeated maturation process in two different casks is commonly referred to as ‘Cask Finishing.’
Cask Finishing is the technique at the heart of Balvenie DoubleWood. The whisky is first matured in American oak barrels, and then it is transferred to European oak sherry casks. The American oak barrels offer soft and sweet vanilla notes to the whiskey and the second cask aging offers a rich spicy flavor to the drink. The depth and fullness of flavor is offered by the European oak sherry cask aging.
The Balvenie DoubleWood 17-Year-Old whisky is an elder sibling to the popular DoubleWood 12-Year-Old, and shares the same spicy honeyed characters as the 12-Year-Old version, but is distinctly different with hints of green apple, deep vanilla notes, creamy toffee, and richness and complexity.
The aroma of the drink will remind you of good quality doughnuts that are complete with strawberry jam and icing sugar. You will then feel a heavy smell of vanilla and sherry in raisin ice cream that is drizzled with honey. Additionally, you will experience the smell of oak, autumn leaves, and fresh timber, which is very appealing.
You will feel more sherry influence in the taste, as it is very prominent with tastes of cakey dry fruits that is mingled with that of apple pie. The main difference of taste with the 12-Year-Old whisky is that oak is the centre stage here. As this is a Balvenie, you will feel very good oak, together with polished wood, creamy vanilla and a hint of dry licorice.
The finish of the whisky is of medium length, with a kick of spice, and is gently drying. You can also feel sweet and fruity tastes with a light touch of fruit polish. Also lingering will be the tastes of rich caramel that slowly turns to good old wood. Fans of the 12-Year-Old version will like this whisky very much.