By James Atkinson
The Balvenie's family of single malt Scotch whiskies has grown with the arrival of The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old in Australian bars and independent retailers.
The DoubleWood 17 Year Old is an elder sibling to DoubleWood 12 Year Old, The Balvenie's most popular expression. The new aged version shares the same DNA and the honeyed, spicy characteristics as the 12 Year Old, but it is distinctly different, with deeper vanilla notes, hints of green apple, creamy toffee and a striking richness and complexity.
To craft DoubleWood 17 Year Old, malt master David Stewart, who recently celebrated his 50th year at The Balvenie with the release of The Balvenie Fifty, returned to one of his most celebrated achievements – consecutive maturation in two different types of cask, a process often referred to as 'cask finishing'.
This technique is at the heart of The Balvenie DoubleWood – it sees the whisky matured first in American oak barrels, which impart soft sweet vanilla notes, before being transferred to European oak sherry casks, where the second cask ageing adds rich spicy flavours and a depth and fullness of flavour.
Stewart said it had been a pleasure to create the DoubleWood 17 Year Old and he is delighted with the way it has turned out.
"Wherever I travel in the world, DoubleWood 12 Year Old is the expression that people are most likely to have enjoyed. It is also one of the whiskies I am most proud of when I look back over my 50 years at the distillery, which is why it has been so exciting to create this new older version. "
Top Balvenie venues rewarded
To celebrate the Australian launch of The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old, one of Australia's finest stone sculptors, Fred Alwahan was commissioned to handcraft 3 unique sandstone bottle plinths for the on trade.
Inspired by the returning of the historic Stone of Scone from England to Scotland exactly 17 years prior to the launch date, each handcrafted sandstone plinth will house both The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old and the DoubleWood 17 Year Old, and will be given to key Australian whisky venues that have supported the brand.
The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year Old has an RRP of $170 and is available in Australia from July 3rd, 2013 in specialty whisky retailers.