The Balvenie 21yo “Portwood” (40%, OB, Circa 2013)

A long time ago, as I got interested in Single Malt Whisky I always wanted to really like Balvenie. There was some nice variations of Balvenies around, even from independent bottlers like Cadenheads, and the bottles looked so nice. Uniform and beautiful. 10yo Founders Reserve, 12yo Double Wood, 15yo Single Cask, 17yo Islay Cask, 21yo Port Wood and the 25yo Single Cask. I bought the 12yo, the 15yo and the 21yo As often is the case the 12yo “Doublewood” was the first one I opened. I have to admit I never bought any more than those three…

The Balvenie 21yo Port WoodColor: Orange gold.

Nose: Malty, vanilla powder and definitely some winey notes. Lots of cream and vanilla. Next to come through are some vegetable or plant like notes, but also some new wood and tree sap. Elegant wood, in no way overpowering, even at this age. Very organic. Hints of (saw) dust and very light chocolate (milk). Tiniest hints of cask toast and…wait for it…chlorine. Yet over all a nice nose. Balanced but light by reduction?.

Taste: Cardboard and wine. Malty and quite sweet. Very likeable. I like the fact that the Port is definitely there, but again, not overpowering. Mocha, licorice (Port related this time) and Tiramisu. Not bad, but the taste is really to weak. Definitely reduction!

Yes I will get on my horse now. This one is very nice, but almost reduced to death. It is too mild and especially the finish is almost ruined. You’ve probably had the experience of dabbling with water, and one of those times you slipped, and added a little too much. Remember how that tasted like? Remember how the finish got weak? Well that is what happened here. I can’t help but feel this is a money decision and not because they believe this Malt would be at it’s best @40% ABV. In 2002 I bought myself a bottle of this and remember it to be very, very good, also reduced to 40% but way more aroma in that one. This newer 21yo Port Wood doesn’t cut it (as much) for me. I’m planning to open that older version soon and I’ll get back to you on that subject a.s.a.p. Fun fact: I bought this 21yo, ten years ago for 58 Euro’s and I was recently informed, that very soon, the 21yo will cost almost 200 Euro’s. So If you like it, don’t hesitate, get it while you can for around 125 Euro’s.

Points: 85

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