The Balvenie 1989/2003 “Portwood” (40%, OB)

It’s almost a year ago I review my last Balvenie, and since there are lot’s of them around, why not have another look at a product from this distillery. Up untill now I reviewed some Balvenies with an age statement, this time I’m going to have a look at a Balvenie from a vintage, 1989 to be precise.

Those of you who know Balvenie, know that one of the best Balvenies around is the 21yo Portwood. yet in 2003, a vintage Portwood saw the light of day, this 1989 but also a 1991 exists. Two years later, in 2006, a 1993 vintage was released. I haven’t tried this 1993 yet, but earlier the 1991 was rather disappointing, still it fetched 78 points. Let’s have a look if this 1989 is any better, maybe even as good as the famous 21yo!

Balvenie 1989/2004 Portwood (40%, OB)Color: Pinkish gold.

Nose: Buttery, and creamy. Sweet cookie dough, but also a slight woody and winey note is present. The more this breathes, the more a spicy woody note comes to the fore. Red fruit hard candy. Quite dusty after a while. Vanilla and dough again. Also some candied sweet tangerine skins.

Taste: A sweet candy note, malty and quite dull at first. The Port even though is not heavy, dominates the palate, still it dominates in a transparent way, since it lets through the malty distillery character of Balvenie. All in all a funky battle between winey wood, (with a slight bitter edge to it),  and it’s sweetness. Definitely some citrus in here, Tangerine or sugared orange skins.

Again a very nice and never misbehaving Balvenie. Nothing wrong with it, but it also doesn’t stick out either. This Balvenie will also never drive to fast or smoke a cigarette where it isn’t allowed. It obeys. It isn’t bad either, but for me a little bit boring. Still it’s a Portwood, and it isn’t harsh as some whiskies that came in contact with Port pipes can be. The aroma’s fit well together, so it has good balance. A bit weak with its 40% ABV, but it offers yet another variation on the Balvenie theme, again with a lot of reduction.

Points: 83


2 thoughts on “The Balvenie 1989/2003 “Portwood” (40%, OB)

  1. Nice review, Quill. Never had the vintage PortWood Balvenies, but like you mentioned, the 21yo is quite pleasing. I’ve been trying to get my hands on the duty free non chill-filtered 47.6% bottling – Oh how enjoyable that sounds.

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