A little history before we jump into today’s SvS!
So the stories line from Balvenie include the new 12 year American Oak, 14 year Week of Peat, and 26 year Dark Barley, the first two being permanent editions to the Balvenie lineup. They all come with NFC/QR neck tags that will take you to a WEBSITE HERE so you can audibly hear some of the stories from the distillery from the Global Ambassador Gemma. (she’s literally a gem!)
The first in the stories lineup is one celebrating Kelsie McKechnie and the sweetness of American oak used in Balvenie’s bottlings. Kelsie is an up and coming blender at Balvenie currently absorbing all of the knowledge pouring out of David Stewart’s head (MBE, interview with him HERE). He’s been doing this for over 50 years now and is passing along his learnings to a capable young lady who, if this 12 AO is any indication, is going to be capable of great things,
All of that said, I actually purchased this bottle early from a store in Georgetown that put it on the shelf too early (lol!).
Enough talking, let’s get to tasting!
The American Oak (AO) is a light golden straw where the doublewood (DW) is actually a few brown tints darker. In the bottle the difference is even more apparent.
The AO is all sweet cereal and barley on the nose! The malty character shines through very apparently! The DW next to it smells much darker and spicier in comparison with much lighter malt notes.
The AO is a very friendly and soft mix of barley and yummy sweet fruit notes. The classic Balvenie honey character is there but it’s even lighter than usual. Side by side, the DW’s sherry sweetness shines well above the AO. It’s a very different dram. Like two kids from the same family. Yes, they’re obviously related but they’re both obviously into their own things!
The AO’s finish smells like a beach house on a lake with vanilla and coconut notes but no salinity or seagulls. The DW’s finish is much more rounded with a spicy viscosity like the last fork of a rich meal at an Indian restaurant.
They’re both delectable and really, you can’t go wrong with either. If you’ve tried them both, which did you like better?
Happy Friday and Slainte!