Whisky Review – Balvenie 21 year old port wood

Balvenie 21 year old port wood

40% ABV

£125.75 from MasterOfMalt


The Balvenie 21 year old Port Wood is also available at duty free, as a non-chill filtered version at 47.6% ABV. The version I’m reviewing here is the 40% standard retail version. 


This is a port pipe finished whisky and is quite apparent on the nose. There are lots of initial whiffs of sherry influence with a wrapping of port notes around it. Turkish delight is the first smell that comes to mind. Rose variety, glistening and sugary sweet. There is chocolate. Plump rum drenched raisin. Fruitcake. Touch of dusty warehouses, dunnage like. Cinnamon spice and a hint of clove. There’s some walnut skin nuttiness. And messed inside you have some nice red berry jam. Quite restrained. But there and all the more gorgeous and unique a nose for it. 


Warming, gentle sweet, with dry fruit arrival. Pleasant oiliness, nut oil, covering the palate. Clove and cinnamon head the spices with some light liquorice. Lots of fruit complexity as the sherry soaked raisins and the berry jams interchange through the development. Further into the development we have some crushed up chocolate Brazil nuts


Medium to long length. The red berries and fruitcake spices diminish into some drier nut skins. Spices stick around the longest with sweet cinnamon finishing. 

Adding water.

I really don’t want to add water. 40% is low enough. But one drop into the remainder of my dram. The nose is now very floral. The fruits quietened by the dilution. Still very pleasant but lost the complexity. The palate has lost some of the mouthfeel. It’s slightly more port focused, with more strawberry than raisin, and the finish isn’t as long or as nutty. Personally I would leave this one well alone and not add anything. 


This is a delightful dram. Very well matured and married together. It’s very tasty, moreish and delicious. It is a little pricy, and I would prefer to spend the little extra and buy one in duty free at the higher strength and non-chill filtered because if the quality of this one is anything to go by that duty free version is going to be a flipping monster. 

Thanks to the Balvenie for the official sample