Any chance I get to take a sip of the Balvenie 21 Year Portwood I have to contain myself. It is like asking someone out on a date for the first time. I try to play it off cool as if it is no big deal, but inside I am bursting at the seams!
The first time I tried this was when I purchased the Balvenie sampler in the middle of 2010. It was the third of three samples. (12 Year Doublewood and 15 Year Single Barrel being the others) It was just outstanding…although all three in that sampler are excellent, the 21 just took it all to another level. At other tastings I have been lucky enough to get a pour or two, but it had been a while. Then, I went to a Balvenie tasting on 4/4/12 and got to revisit it once again.
This spirit comes in a hinged and lined presentation box, which only adds to its stature. This expression spends an additional period of maturation in 30 year old Port pipes to give it an additional level of depth and only adds to the indulgence.
Palate: I think there is a correlation. Sherry is to Doublewood as Port is to 21. This is so smooth and full and sweet but still delicate. There is a mix of nuts (almonds?), honey, and cream. A warmth exists throughout and reminds me of a wine (port).
Finish: Full and long and oh so smooth. I get a little bit of wood and warmth and more nutty notes. It is creamy and rich, I wish it wouldn’t stop!
The Balvenie 21 Portwood is an experience. Nutty and silky, it is like ecstasy in your mouth. It is one of my highest scoring whiskies despite my Islay loving palate. This expression stands out amongst the other port finishes I have had, there is just something about it. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but it is distinctive. It is delicate and has a balance and poise that can only be summed up by calling it memorable.
|Tasting notes from 2010 and the present|