Balvenie 21 PortWood

Single Malt WhiskyBalvenie
$200- $300
21 Years Old
Mash Bill:
100% Malted Barley
Port Casks
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Balvenie’s expressions are always intense and complex. When aged in Port pipes, The Balvenie PortWood 21 Year Old really reaches new complexity and pleasure levels. All those vinous notes bring forward a fruitiness rarely seen in Scottish malts. Malt Master David C. Stewart’s masterpiece was first released in 1996, and it’s still a stunning expression.


The nose is all fruit. Ripe grapes, berries and cherry, infused with the loveliest chocolate, smoky cinnamon and hazelnuts. Complex, stratified and bold, you can stick your nose into the glass for hours. Under the influence of port, this malt has rare complexity levels. 


The mouthfeel is gorgeous — incredibly creamy and silky. The palate is all fruit, honey and endless spices. It unfolds nicely in the back palate with enticing flavor intensity. Port and Scotch seamlessly integrated into a delicious dram. 


The finish is as long as you would expect from such a concentrated and unctuous malt. Raisins in the aftertaste with roasted almonds and hazelnuts make the most of the aftertaste, always escorted by sweet honey in the background.

Overall - Sip or skip?

This is not your usual single malt; it falls in the experimental whisky category. Port pipes could easily overpower the Scottish malt, but not in this case. Balvenie’s Master Blender found the right formula for a balanced expression you just can’t miss. An extraordinarily rare malt, even for Balvenie’s standards. 

Other Balvenie expressions to try

If you’re into out-of-the-beaten-path expressions, The Balvenie Peated Triple Cask Aged 14 Years is the whisky for you. In this case, it’s not port casks adding complexity to the Balvenie’s malt but lots of smoky peated malt aged in first-fill bourbon, refill bourbon and sherry casks. A syrupy sweetness and an intense smokiness make this a superb expression.


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