I’ve never claimed to be a whiskey aficionado, or expert sniffer. I have only my love of single malt Highland Scotch, and the praises of my friends and colleges of my collection, along with more than three decades experience in consuming it to recommend me. None the less, I think you will be pleased with this review.
Not one for doing things in half-measure, my love for Scotch has taken me on several tours of the distilleries of Elgin Scotland, and elsewhere, bringing back some of the best distillations I have been able to find, and afford, to share with friends and fellow writers.
In my world, there is little better than to sip scotch and write. The feel the solid wood and leather of my desk, the warmth of my dogs at my feat, the tapping of the keys of my keyboard, the creaking of my chair, surrounded by books and the scent of a fine aged single malt whiskey close at hand.
Now that the stage is set, let me introduce you to one of my favorite discoveries, made on a Pre-pandemic trip to Dufftown, Banffshire, Scotland. There, I had the pleasure to visit the Balvenie distillery – the only distillery in Scotland that still grows its own barley and uses traditional floor maltings, as well as having their own Coppersmith and a team of coopers onsite.
Built in 1892, production started in 1893, Balvenie is one of the oldest and arguably the most hand-crafted single malt Scotch available from Scotland.
Of all the wonderful distillations they produce, one of my favorites is the 21-year-old, finished in PortWood® port casks, single malt. Cask-aged more than two decades. It is amazingly smooth, with a heat that lasts on the tongue and progresses slowly down the throat with a slow deep, deep satisfying finish.
At 21 years, you would expect a smooth finish, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Balvenie 21-year-old is worth hiding and sharing only with close friends.
Clearly a Highland Scotch, it is not as cutting and harsh as more mass produced and commercial brands such as Glenlivet. This Balvenie has a creamy texture with a light taste of sun ripened fruit and raisin.
Available since 1996, and winner of many industry awards, this casking will please even the most discriminating palette.
The Balvenie PortWood® Aged 21 Years is non chill-filtered and bottled at a higher strength of 47.6% abv.
For those who want the official, “professional” description, here are the tasting notes from The Balvenie Distillery:
NOSE: A perfume of fruity and ripe raisin notes, backed by a nutty dryness.
TASTE: Refined with remarkable character, it is creamy and silky with fruit, honey and spice notes.
FINISH: Long, gentle, nutty.
While it has been found at a few large specialty retailers, it is more often not in stock.
You may have better luck at this little shop I know called, “The Whiskey Shop in Dufftown”, Banffshire, Scotland. Though, last I checked, they only had one bottle left. I’m not sure of their shipping arrangements, but it’s worth a call.
This bottle will set you back $300+ in the states or £180.00 (£150.00 without the VAT) in Scotland.
From the Cellars of AK Llyr
Randi Thorneau loves to write product reviews. Reach out to her through the main submissions email for Celtic Nations Magazine – firstname.lastname@example.org