Three Balvenie 12s: Doublewood, Signature and Triple Cask + 16 Triple Cask

Today I decided to review the Balvenie 12 Triple Cask, as I’d had a mini in my sample bag for a few months, and wondered how the review would compare to past Balvenie 12s I’ve had. So here’s a three-way comparison that’s also a bit of a time capsule of my reviewing over the past few years, as I looked at each of these in very different times/places:


Balvenie 12 Doublewood – 40% (reddit review #8, Sept 2013)

Went to a martini bar with my gf [Editor’s note: no longer with her] and all they had for scotch was Glenfiddich 12 and The Balvenie 12 Doublewood. Chose the latter and made some quick notes as I was enjoying it. Won’t be the most comprehensive review as a result! (and no picture)

  • Appearance: pretty dark, though the lighting was very dark in there too. couldn’t tell if it’s the different woods affecting colour or if it has artificial colouring in it.
  • Nose: sweet nose with fruity notes. honey, vanilla. can smell the sherry
  • Taste: again very sweet. Pear taste is up front… even my [ex-]gf who doesn’t drink scotch tasted pears. honey, vanilla, sherry, apples.
  • Finish: short and sweet. didn’t seem to last, and with a sip of water it was gone.
  • Rating: 80/100

tasty dram, but left me with a hankering for something stronger.


Balvenie 12 Signature – 40% (reddit review #40, Oct 2014)

I got this dram as part of an r/scotch mystery swap with /u/big_daddy_drams. I received 3 mystery drams, and guessed the first two correctly, being Balvenie 16 Triple Cask (which I’ve also included here as a comparison), and Ardbeg Corryvrecken

Review Element Mystery 1 Mystery 3
Appearance light orange/gold. Thick generous legs. orange/gold colour. Quick thin legs
Nose lots of fruit, apples, peach, apricot. Very sweet. Not a ton of oak. Brown sugar. Not too hot. tough nose on this one. It’s very subtle. Honey, sherry, cherries? Not getting a ton.
Palate very sweet. Tons of honey and sugar. Warmer than the nose suggests. Oakier too. some sherry for sure. Some spiciness too. I’m reminded of Balvenie Doublewood very spicy and peppery, lots of sherry and fruit. Definitely higher ABV than mystery #1 but I’m not sure about cask strength. Feels older for some reason. Rather malty. Lemon/citrus. Other fruits, some floral notes. With a bit of water it was nuttier and maltier. very nice.
Finish long and sweet. Spice fades quickly. musty. Oaky. Warm.
Guess I think it’s a Speyside, probably a Balvenie. 43% maybe? Something with a sherry cask finish. It’s hot but very fresh tasting. I want to say Speyside or possibly Lowland? 48-50% ABV I think. No idea what distillery. Gonna guess 12-15 yrs old.
Score 85 84
Reveals: Balvenie 16 Triple Cask Balvenie 12 Signature


Balvenie 12 Triple Cask – 40% (reddit review #241, March 2017)

and now the one i had tonight. was very interested to see how it compared to the other 12s and 16 doublewood.

  • Appearance: light orange. Pretty standard and looks coloured.
  • Nose: tons of honey, caramel, some apple, peach, pear… almost like the juice from those canned fruit cups. Grassy, Very sugary. Lots of aromas I typically associate with balvenie and speyside, not much that I associate with oloroso though.
  • Palate: It’s weirdly bitter on first taste which was unexpected. On second and third taste the honey, light fruit and sugar come through as expected. floral. Quite thin, but at 40%, that’s to be expected. A bit of dried fruit, but nothing I would definitely attribute to the oloroso, which is disappointing. little bit of spice, but hard to place it.
  • Finish: woody bitterness, short, sweet.
  • Score: 72

this was not what I expected. I liked it significantly less than all of the other Balvenie’s I’ve tried. That bitterness was a disappointment and really, why brag about oloroso aging if it’s not gonna show up? Glad I bought this mini for only 3 pounds or something.

So overall, my average of these 4 comes out to 80, which is a bit below my overall average, but I guess that makes sense. Balvenie puts out some decent, generally non-offensive drams, but usually won’t blow your socks off. I’m just surprised the last one did so poorly. So far my favourite balvenie is the 17 peated cask, but that’s a whole other beast. Might have to try a Tun sometime.

2 thoughts on “Three Balvenie 12s: Doublewood, Signature and Triple Cask + 16 Triple Cask

  1. Almost out my triple cask in the forgot section of my liquor cab’. The bitterness I do not like!

    The 12 doublewood is much better. Thanks for writing this or I would have thought someone poured the original contents of the bottle out and sold me something else lol


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