Day Sixteen in the Whisky Advent Calendar

*In this series, I’m working my way through the 2015 Master of Malt Whisky Advent. I had surgery in the middle, so we’re behind on the official dates.

Balvenie Doublewood. Ahhh. The scotch that every person buys when they are making the emotional transition from Irish Whiskey to Scottish Whisky.

It’s a standard. And for good reason.


I’ve already talked about Balvenie when I reviewed the 18yr Sherry Barrel, but here’s one extra tidbit.

It’s one of the only distilleries in Scotland with its own malting floor, and it’s absolutely one of the gold standards for how lovely a good Speyside can really get.

I’ll let them tell you themselves. They have really great marketing and produce quite a few high quality videos and documentaries. Check out their story in the video at the bottom of the page.


Balvenie Doublewood is a classic Speyside, but it’s on the more advanced side of the flavor spectrum for that region.

The first time someone introduces you to scotch, it’s often either someone giving you a generic Speyside sweet whisky, or it’s a whisky lover.

If it’s an uneducated bartender, you probably got a Glenfiddich or a Glenlivet because that’s the only scotch they have in the bar. Both are good, but the lower end of their offerings are simple in their taste profile.

If a whisky lover hands you a scotch, they will regularly make the mistake of throwing you in the deep end of the pool with an extremely smoky or an extremely complex whisky. That’s a mistake that most aficionados of a category make consistently. Once you’re that far into the ocean, it’s hard to remember what it’s like taking your first tiptoe step.

An easier way to introduce yourself to scotch is to start with Speysides or a light Highland, and move into the more complicated flavors as you get more familiar.

In that case, Balvenie Doublewood should definitely be the whisky you choose to transition you from the simple sweet lightness of a Speyside to a more complicated Highland.

Doublewood refers to the fact that it was aged in both bourbon and sherry barrels. The bourbon gives you heavy vanilla, and the sherry gives you the clingy, rich sweetness.

There are almond notes and bits of cinnamon spice from the sherry, and honey mixed with vanilla from the bourbon oak.

Altogether this is a standard that should stay always at hand. Like a good Van Morrison record.