Balvenie 21 Year Portwood

Scotch Whisky Review #412: Balvenie 21 Year Portwood

Distillery: Balvenie.

Region: Speyside.

Age: 21 Year.

ABV: 43.0%

Cask Type: Finished in Port Casks

Price: Sample courtesy of /u/_asipper.

Color: 1.2, Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry. Non-Chill Filtered.

This sample was reviewed blind. The label was marked “Due Process” but no hints were given beyond that it was a malt whisky.

Nose: There’s notes of fresh greenery, light hay, and lots of orchard fruits. Baby’s breath flowers make up a lot of the greenery notes. The orchard fruits are a mix of green apples, champagne grapes, nectarines, and a bit of white peaches.

Palate: There’s a very familiar malt note to this, something I’ve had before. Most of the notes from the nose are here, just in a very delicate and muted form that is dominated by the malt. You get bits of green apple, hay, baby’s breath, and champagne grapes but the malt is the over powering note here.

Finish: Medium in length. There’s a bit of malt and a bit of hay.

Guess: This seems so familiar but I can’t put my finger on it. I’ll guess it is a Speysider, fairly young and between 12-15 years of age. Ex-refill sherry is my guess, bottled around 46% ABV. I’m going to guess Linkwood or Tormore for distillery.

Reveal: Balvenie 21 Year Portwood

Conclusion: No wonder it felt familiar, I’ve had the 21 year Portwood Balvenie before in the past and just never got around to reviewing it. Having it again, it’s not bad at all. The nose is quite nice, I love that combination of fresh greenery, the hay, and orchard fruits. I just wish that was really delivered through the rest of the dram. While the notes might be present in the palate, they’re so light and muted that it is disappointing. If it was bottled at cask strength, or even closer to 50%, I think this might have been a home run. As it is, I’m just left thinking it was alright but too malt driven for what it is.

Final Score: 80.

Note: I’ve made some changes to the scoring legend, the descriptions have been updated slightly to match my actual scoring a little better.

Scotch Whisky Review #412, Speyside Review #152, Whisky Network Review #566

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky and I will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection if feasible.
  • 85-89: Very good to amazing, almost the complete product and I’m likely wanting a bottle or two.
  • 80-84: Quite good, pleasant overall though there is usually a few things that could be improved still.
  • 75-79: Good, enjoyable to drink but ultimately flawed.
  • 70-74: Alright, solid and wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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