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Balvenie 21 Year Old PortWood Finish

(70cl, 40%)

Balvenie 21 Year Old PortWood Finish

Balvenie 21 Year Old Bottling Note

Here we have the flagship single malt from Balvenie's series of Port Wood whiskies. This 21 year old expression, a marriage of rare Balvenie, was impressively finished in 30 year old port pipes. Originally released in 1996, this whisky is a veritable masterclass in poise and balance. It’s fruity and very subtly smoky, the perfect after-dinner dram.

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Elegant. White peach and a faint puff of smoke.

Palate: A gentle, subtle palate with loads of complexity. It offers up a mix of cranberries and cooked raspberries, a little white grape juice and barley.

Finish: Cocoa, slightly bitter as it tails away gracefully.

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Balvenie 21 Year Old PortWood Finish Reviews

Great dram

It so smooth and full of flavour, simply Devine.

23rd November 2020

Not for the thrill, but with class.

Subtle, complex, an absolute gentleman's scotch. Worth the money, but you need to understand that this was made with class, not for thrill.

20th August 2020

Tasting notes correct - gentle and subtle...

...but too subtle for me. Its nice - but nothing here to get anywhere near justifying the price

22nd May 2020

All time favourite

I don't know what everyone else is talking about it being bland? But this whiskey is beautiful

20th May 2020

Y’all suck

The people saying this scotch is over rated and what not have obviously never been a proper scotch drinker. Do you even know how to drink proper scotch

16th May 2020

Bland and overpriced

It's not a bad whisky but it's just an instantly forgetable one. Tried as part of a sampler and it's not worth the money.

There is nothing about this that stands out, nothing memorable.

I'm jealous of those that found the port over powering. I bought because of the port but barely got a taste of it.

Very underwhelming. Now the Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask in the sampler... that was more like it.

13th April 2020

Balvenie with a beautiful brand but slacking on the delivery.

140 at 40%? I love Balvenie, but I struggle to see how you've got your 12 year single cask above 47% yet this is almost thrice the price and is the base 40%, nothing from Balvenie should be under 43%, and you should lose that 12 Triple cask because the oak kills it.

10th April 2020

Not worth that kind of money!!!!

Port is over powering. Not worth the money. Better of with Caribbean cask 14 year old or the double wood 12 year old.

24th December 2019


If you read this don't bother! It's a waste of money. Better of with the 12 year old.

23rd December 2019

Top notchbest of its class

Sip after sip, you taste all its perplex I have two favorites...the 14 year old and 21 year old scotch!.... ( I hide it )

14th December 2019

Whatever it costs; it’s not enough.

I’ve never tasted a finer whiskey. It is elegant and refined with that perfect balance of sweet caramel and sea salt.

18th November 2019

Personal best. PB

Without question; the best whisky I have ever tasted!

10th November 2019

The best scotch whiskey I have ever had!

I bought this and it so far has been my best bottle purchase to date. I only regret that I didn’t save some of it. Me and my family enjoyed it so much we finished the same evening. I will definitely purchase it again but the next one will last longer.

30th October 2019

Pure nectar.

Gorgeous depth of flavour. The best whiskey I have tasted, ignore the detractors.

5th September 2019

The Supreme

The sine qua non of Scotch ..

2nd June 2019

No Port Flavor

This is a very good 21 year old scotch with a great woody flavor, very smooth as you expect after 21 years. However, the prominent "PortsWood" on the label is pure marketing. If you read carefully, the scotch only spent 6 months in a port cask and very little port flavor is present. If the port tones are what you are after, this scotch is not worth the premium price

27th April 2019

I recommend you try the taster sample

Interesting how many people really enjoyed this whisky, compared with those who didn’t.
Interesting how many of those that didn’t, admit it is not to their palate, compared with those who think it is a poor whisky.
I have tasted more than 150 whiskeys in the range between £30 and £200 per bottle and this whisky is definitely in my preferred top 5, as it suits my palate.

13th April 2019

One of my favorites.

Excellent in every way. Smooth with a fine puro.

13th April 2019

Don't waste your money

Purposely marked it down because it is no way near worth the money. Compared to whiskies 1/3 of the price, sure it's good, but compared to whiskies half its price then it starts to slip. Why in the world are they chill filtering it and bottling it at 40%? There are travel retail bottlings that are bottled at about 47-48% (i.e. not chill filtered), and I really hope they are better than this.

11th February 2019

Love it

Amazing love it

23rd January 2019

Balvenie 21

It tastes some portwood/sherry, idk? I've never had a portwood before but it reminds me of sherry. I can agree with last review that it's a little light though, GlenDronach 21 is better in my opinion :)

26th December 2018

Too light for my style

It is a very light and easy to drink whisky, that's not really my style. I can understand why people like this though, just not my style of whisky.

24th December 2018

Made by The Maven of Malts -

Ive been around the Malt circuit for a good while now... Many times I hear people saying that they get certain smells, flavours, tastes from their experiences when nosing / tasting malts. I wonder how many people are just repeating what they have heard others saying or agreeing with what they have read in a review. Ok some I just about get and some scents and flavours and some I just don't as some malts are just masked with too much influence on "Sherry" that BIG buzzword in the Malt world these days. I think that's a pretty safe bet if you are a so called "master blender"ie an easy get out if you need it to hide behind that fact that you ain't as good as you'd like people to think you are.. HOWEVER, after many journeys through many bottles there is only one that truly hits all the spots and COMMANDS ones undivided attention and that's The Balvenie 21yo PortWood. This is testimony to the "real" genius that Mr David C Stewart (Should be Sir David) really is. Hey I get that soft smooth peachy creamy - wee bit of "nice" honey and you know what, I don't know what else Im getting - all I know is this is quite simply the "perfection". (Hey I even think I can get that wonderful smell we get when we enter cask warehouses...I did read one chap saying- and I respect all views that he didn't like it and it didn't work with a cigar... COME ON MAN!, smoking dulls taste so you ain't going to appreciate the shine piece of art man. So don't slate this for the purists. This is the Bentley Mulsanne of Malts - The very best of everything in one creation. God Bless you Mr Stewart, Make that Lord Stewart please. The Mac...

25th October 2018


By far my favourite whisky! Smooth and full of flavour

19th September 2018

Best of the best scotch

After discovering Scotch several years ago I have been sampling many...many brands and many varieties. The Balvenie 21 year old Portwood is my go to scotch. The texture, body and flavor are excellent and smooth. So good.

6th September 2018

A great invitation to truly enjoying ac fine scotch.

I have never been a scotch drinker. A friend from out of town came to visit and brought this as a gift.
Smith with an almost spicy finish.
A comfort to drink, and oh so warming.

9th July 2018

If port wood is your thing, this is just wonderful.

Simply exceptional......

5th July 2018

You have to try this one.

I tried this in The Distillery at Derby. Have to admit one of the smoothest malts I’ve ever tried.

12th June 2018

First Class!

I bought this without ever drinking whisky before. It was recommended by my wife's uncle. Well........ to my absolute delight, I loved it. It was nice on the palet and didn't blow my head off. One sip and the flavours keep on coming for a good while after. Looks like this whisky is now my regular whisky.

1st May 2018

Lovely delicate easy drinking with a lovely mouthfeel

Although light and delicate in flavour i personally loved it... Smooth and creamy feel with a port wine fruitiness. I believe this could turn anyone into a whisky drinker! Brilliant beginners whisky just not at beginners price!

28th March 2018

Does not live up to the hype

Debated trying this for a good while. I have a very varied collection and enjoy various styles of whisky from all price ranges .

Finally gave in based on the reviews from others and I'm extremely disappointed. Given it a few tries and doesn't rate anywhere in my list of go to drams.

I'd be impressed at 1/3 of the price, really overpriced and not worth it. Bland sums it up for me

8th March 2018

Best of Balvenie

Absolutely great dram opened a bottle for my 60 Birthday and everyone enjoyed it.
Will order more for Special occasions

6th March 2018


Had a dram of this - not my style at all. Very heavy on the port. More heavy on the port than the sherry influence from bottles from sherry casks/butts.
I would stay away from this one...
(was even worse when I started smoking a cigar with the dram)

2nd March 2018

A fantastic dram

I love all the Balvenie expressions but the 21 yo is in a class of its own. Enough port to matter but not so much to overwhelm the malt. And what a malt it is!

18th February 2018

Nice mild scotch, great for any occasion

Very nice everyday Scotch. Not my absolute favorite, but would be a great option to have in a collection, and for sharing with friends.

19th January 2018

Best of all.

Quite simply the best scotch I have ever had the pleasure to drink. I have had scotches that were far more expensive but none were as good. It is my favorite of all scotches that are within the price range of the average scotch drinker.

17th January 2018


Stunning. I was given this a birthday present "special" age. I cracked it open a few days after and I have to say- you get what you pay for, worth every penny. Delicious and smooth. I will need another - soon probably!

13th January 2018


Superior taste master single malt

8th December 2017


Had it for the first time this evening. Very smooth with an unbelievable finish. I must make a purchase to share with my friends.

3rd December 2017

A full 5. Remarkable.

This is the spoiler. After it, you will not want anything else.

28th November 2017


Unbelievably good

17th October 2017

Cannot wait for them to have more in stock

I had this while in Las Vegas as the only Balvenie on the menu. Once received it was delicious. I had several other scotch drinkers taste it and they were in complete agreement that it was a great tasting scotch.

2nd July 2017

I truly is a must have in my house!

Extremely smooth! I like to enjoy a glass at the end of a tough day. Was given a bottle as a gift and now need to replenish. It is a must have in my cabinet

26th March 2017

So wish I could afford more of it

Wow. This was lovely. Am a huge fan of the double wood and given the opportunity to try a dram. Refined honey with a serious earthy woody undertone. So wish I could afford more of it.

11th March 2017

The BEST affordable Single Malt on the market today!

One of the Best Single Malts on the market! The only Scotch allowed in my home!!!

15th February 2017

Simply Unbelievable

I have not be a fan of single malts finished in wine/port barrels; too sweet a result. I was given a bottle of this Balvenie as a retirement present. Before I could open my own, the owner of my local gave me a sample from his bottle. I was blown away. What a very nice little whisky. It is balanced, firm, woody, aromatic, grounded, relaxing, refreshing and fortifying all in the first sip. It just becomes more pleasant as you go down the glass. I am going to give a bottle to my best friend as a surprise for Christmas. He had a couple of glasses while visiting this weekend and was amazed. Can't wait to see the expression on his face on Christmas afternoon.

5th December 2016


I thought Scapa an excellent single malt until today 09/11/16. An excellent dram.

9th November 2016

You can taste the port

I was very curious so I gave this a try. The taste of port wine was unpleasantly stronger than expected. It was definitely a unique experience and worth trying, but I regret purchasing a whole bottle. I think I'll stick to the Doublewoods.

28th October 2016


The nutty flavor with the honey sweetness and a hint of fruit is amazing I would highly recommend such a treat

23rd October 2016

lightest tasting scotch I have ever had.

Extremely light tasting, clean, but hard for me to pick up flavor notes. Not my style of Scotch, but it's a very good one.

3rd July 2016

Simply the best

Best whisky from the best distillery. If it were just cheaper in the states, then I would give it 6 stars...

3rd June 2016

Melts like butter

The best single malt. Very very smooth very much palatable no hangover Whisky. Imparts a feeling like butter melting near fire . The Whisky also touches the palate and all the places down to stomach. You may drink a large quantity in sane intervals without feeling nausea or drunk.

3rd June 2016

Good but not excellent

Palate: sweet, a little bit one dimensional plate, mild peat taste, not the smoothest whisky.
Not my favourite cause mild peat&smoke taste but maybe for you if you prefer mild peat taste.

25th April 2016

The next level for top end supermarket scotch

Full of flavour, slightly smoky and dangerously smooth. Sublime

7th April 2016

Really good, but not worth the cost.

It was good but not as good as most reviews portray. Not much complexity going on. I'm glad I have a bottle but will continue to buy my favorite. ( Belvenie 14 year)

13th March 2016

Excellent Experience

Nose: Excellent depth, but still lively and lithe. Pear, pineapple, floral, pine, leather.

Palate: Peach, apricot, and melon bright fruit, but with layers of earth tones and a little allspice. BBQ smoke, cedar, mild tobacco. Then underneath it all and leading into the finish are dark, reduced fruit of plum and macerated cherries.

Finish: Sweet finish, but a bit shorter than others and probably the area that is holding me back from a 10 out of 10 rating. I think part of this is the "lower" alcohol content. However, the finish is interesting with brighter cherry and plum showing nicely.

Overall: I really like this offering. It is my favorite of the line and I feel like it is still fundamentally a well made and well aged whisky that has been finished in port wood. The port flavors add depth and character instead of overpowering and simplifying the experience.

28th February 2016

Lovely Scotch

Although a little pricey, it doesn't disappoint. One of my favorites. Great complexity and smooth finish. Wonderful to just sit back, relax, and enjoy a quality scotch. I'm a big fan of Balvenie, and this is by far one of their best scotches. I can't wait to try the 15 year old single barrel sherry cask.

25th December 2015


I bought a bottle of The Balvenie 21 Year Old PortWood many (10 - 15, I think) years ago to save for retirement. I just opened it last week. Wow! Sitting in front of the fireplace, dog at my feet, and enjoying a snifter of it while it snowed outside - hard to beat. Not the in-your-face peat, enjoy-with-a-cigar punch of a Laphroaig; more of a sip-and-enjoy-the-complexity whisky. I'm sure I didn't pay the $200+ it costs these days back when I bought it; I sure wish I would have several more!

12th December 2015



4th December 2015

At 40% this is just too flat to be called 'outstanding' or 'excellent'

The Balvenie 21 is by no means a bad malt, but for this price category I'd expect a less slick and 'produced' body and a lasting aftertaste. I feel the single barrel 12yo and 15yo, and the sherry casked 15yo are all superior products to this one.

22nd October 2015

One of the Best

I rate this Single malt as one of the top 5 in my cabinet. My usual is Macallan 18, and my favorite is Macallan rare cask.This is definitely one to share will special friends.This single malt has a very unique fruity flavor that I can't quite describe. A hint of peach maybe. The nose has a acidic caramel scent, wonderful. The finish is good, but faint, nutty vanilla flavor that doesn't linger; begging you to have another taste. This dram is a great alternative to my 18YO Macallan. I will keep a bottle in my cabinet to share with my fellow single malt and cigar crowd.

22nd October 2015

the best single malt

5 Stars

28th July 2015

Top of the list

For my taste this is the finest single malt for the price on the market. It's sufficient to say that it's so good that I share it only with my son and a good friend and scotsman, who also happens to be an Episcopal priest.

22nd July 2015

Caj't stop dreaming about it

It's been 15 years since I bought my first bottle of Balvenie Portwood 21, and it remains my favorite of all the single malts. I nursed that bottle for years, but alas, I finally finished it a few years ago. It's very hard to get where I live, and state taxes on liquor sales are substantial, so it's been out of my price range as well. One day, I will spring for another bottle, but until I will savor the memory of a smooth, creamy scotch.

25th June 2015


This the one that I reserve for special occasions and special friends. At least until I try the 40 yo...

21st June 2015

By far my favorite

This is by far my favorite scotch. The amazing taste and aroma. it goes down incredibly smooth, with a wonderful finish. I first came across this when it was still $90 a bottle, back then I thought it a steal...I gladly pay the current price.

10th May 2015

My personal favorite

I could talk about the taste, finish or balance all day. Quite simply, the best whiskey I have tasted… However, I have not enjoyed anything over 25 years old.

28th April 2015


very yumyum

24th March 2015

Interesting, but not for me...

Sampled this, and I did enjoy the unique peachy notes on the nose and the lighter mixture of nutty, sweet and floral palate flavors. However, light on the front and a faintly bitter ending seemed a little off for me, as I found the porty, dark chocolate finish, but with a hint of green pine. Admittedly I had no problem finishing the sample! It was certainly enjoyable, and from a tasting standpoint I can appreciate all the finer parts of this Speyside treat that others are liking, but just don't think I'd pay the premium for this bottle.

13th February 2015

Docking In At The Port

I really liked this young adult dram and am looking forward to it tonight. Great raisin sweetness , star anise, smooth nutmeg oak flavor. Compact with a nice finish and subtle vanilla impact. This makes me want to explore the Doublewood next or just buy another bottle of this one.

6th February 2015

Balvenie 21 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

This is a wonderful dram and is worthy of its awards and I would predict this one is going to be pulling more awards in the future and is one I will be keeping a eye out for in the Whisky magazine. If you can I would recommend trying to get the duty free one from airports when you are off on your jollies as this is 47% alc and is un chill filtered and has no caramel added so it is more flavoursome and has a bigger personality and it would be wonderful if Master of Malt could get there hands on some, some how. I wouldn't recommend adding water as the flavours are very easely diluted and fizzle out !. I would say it's a well manicured malt and has been well looked after to the point where it was probably checked either daily or weekly waiting for that one opportunity to pounce on it and bottle it before the well aged malt begins to go through its next maturation phase like Ralfy said on his whisky review site If you want a good honest and pro view go to that site as he doesn't just talk about the dram its self he actually talks about the science and things they don't put on the whisky container box. Very enlightening and interesting as well as helpful !.

5th December 2014

WOW ! Well I've got a bottle now !

Wow ! Just wow !. Absaloubtly stunning and amazing, how this malt can evoke such emotions and it''s a honor and a privilege to be able to exsperiance such a dram of this stature and refinement just remember for every year of age on a malt whisky you should leave it stand for a minuit per each year and I wouldent recommend adding a tea spoon of water in this one as there is more aroma and flavour un watered like I said above just leave it stand a min per year and best of all enjoy it with a friend or family member ! Oh and about my previous post below I would of expected a little help MOM but it's just as well I made my mind up with out any help from you !

4th December 2014

My next bottle

I hope it's as good as it said to be !. I'm not a big Balvenie drinker that been said I could not find fault with the ones I had tried and I do like port matured whisky. Could you all recommend what to try before I buy this like below the 15 year old sherry matured or the double wood 17 year old ? I would appreciate if you master of malt could also put a recommendation for me on here ?

29th November 2014

smooth but lacking

It's definitely a notch above the 17 Doublewood. The refinement is noticeable on both the nose and the palate. Almost no alcohol burn. However it feels rather empty. Impact-wise it's almost like it's already been watered down to 25%, or less. If you add water, it's basically like drinking water. Maybe others will describe that as "subtle" or "delicate". But for this price I'd expect more flavor. I think I've tried all the widely-available Balvenies now and the 15 sherry cask is still my favorite (and I don't usually like sherry).

26th November 2014


David Stewarts rates this as his favourite Bal of the bunch - Outstanding. Worth the money !!

21st November 2014

My personal Favorite.... Saved for Celebrations and the best of friends.

This is my absolute personal favorite. It's so tasty and smooth. Just an amazing Single Malt!!
Words don't describe.. A must try.
I usually only buy this when celebration is at hand or I'm with the best of friends.

20th November 2014

The Best

Had a bottle of this a couple years ago. God is it good.

14th November 2014


What an incredible work of art. I didn't want to drink it as i was worried the palate disappoint the nose. it just got better and better.

and the finish! This is the everlasting gobstopper of Scotch. I didn't want to eat or drink anything else after. i just wanted that taste to linger.

please note i've only started my scotch tasting tour within the past 2 years, but this is an instant favorite.

9th October 2014

Non better!

I´ve been drinking single malts for 40 years. This whisky is awesome, it cant be much better than this!

25th September 2014

Simply a MUST!

I really love it! It's stunning!!
One of my favourite scotch, it's for ever!

19th March 2014


I have been drinking single malts for about 5 years. And prior to this, I had splurged on a 375 ml bottle of Macallan 18 (similarly price to Balvenie 21 in my area). A few months back, I treated a friend to a dram for his birthday, which was my first time with the Portwood 21. It's the best Scotch I have tasted. I recommend it. I got a bottle for Christmas, and I am trying really hard to conserve it. I share too much :) The price does make it more special. It is looking like a two bottle max (per year) for me. Don't drink it with food, even if it's an 80 dollar steak. This is best savored with 2 cold stones on a half full stomach. In my opinion, don't even smoke a cigar with it. Definitely savor every sip.

3rd February 2014

Liquid dessert

No need to say anything else. Seriously expensive in the US at 190-200 dollars a bottle.

29th January 2014

Subtle over superior...

Made a mistake getting a bottle, fortunately not too costly. Should have taken more time in the port cask; not enough character been drawn out of it IMHO. Balvenie is good at producing drams that are easily enjoyable though.

21st November 2013

Love at First Sight

Tried this on a whim and quickly realized that this was a special dram.

26th October 2013

Quality, but not my style

I tried a dram of this whisky a little while ago, and while I found it enjoyable, it was drier than I would have expected for something aged in port wood, and from Balvenie no less! I like my whiskies with a little sweetness to them, and Balvenie usually gives me that (e.g. both Doublewoods, Single Barrel 15, Caribbean Cask). Nonetheless, it was a solid dram, and my buddy acknowledged it as one of his favorites. Just not my style.

17th October 2013


This stuff is the tits.

9th October 2013

The Best

Amazing. Plus a value when you consider some alternatives.

9th October 2013

Dessert in a Glass

Amazing! Intoxicating aroma, smooth & flavorful with a slight hint of smoke. The finish goes on and on. One shot, poured neat, with a drop of water, can be sipped, savored and enjoyed for a long time.

28th August 2013


I just tried the 21year Port Wood and would match very few with my cigar.

28th July 2013

luv this!

One of the finest whiskeys I have ever enjoyed. I acknowledge its not going to appeal to everyone but inhaling the aroma alone is pure ambrosia for me.

8th June 2013

a quality whisky

it is very smooth, however for me it lacks depth and complexity - maybe slightly insipid? Enjoyable but will go for something else next time

3rd April 2013



23rd March 2013

Expected more

An enjoyable, smooth and very easy drink. It just doesn't do an awful lot for me. Not a wealth of flavours and I feel there are a lot better out there for £86

21st March 2013

Stop and try....100% satisfaction awaits

I couldn't be happier with my purchase.

1st March 2013

I'm drinking this as I post

Nose: I detect jam, no smoke. Palate: It starts sweet, more of that jam, from the nose. It morphs into something more fiery, warming, spicy. The finish is spicy,and, yes, there is cocoa in that tail. Very good!

15th January 2013


Found the whisky that will carry me through the rest of my days.

1st September 2012

Great Whiskey!

This is a wonderful Scotch. The tasting notes are spot on although the finish also has a nice warm milk note which, thankfully, lingers on your tongue.

10th May 2012

Very delicious!

I tried to drink it and I think it's best whisky, very delicious, I hope I can buy more...

5th January 2012

My favourite port of call!

I had a bottle of the 91 portwood and thought I'd upgrade after completing it. I have to say, the jump wasn't dramatic, but this really is an awesome Scotch. If you dont mind splashing out, this will really float your boat.

6th October 2009

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