Review: The Balvenie PortWood 21 Years Old, Rum Cask 14 Years Old, and 40 Years Old
More new whiskies from Speyside’s The Balvenie are on the way in coming months, and we got a sneak preview of two of them (plus a taste of an old favorite). Thoughts (based on early bottlings) follow.
The Balvenie PortWood 21 Years Old – One of the distillery’s finest expressions, finished with five months of time in Port pipe. Features lush nougat and marshmallow notes, some citrus, and toasty grain. Elegant texture and well balanced. 86 proof. Previously rated an A at this 2009 event. A- / $150
The Balvenie Rum Cask 14 Years Old – Balvenie’s 17 year old special edition Rum Cask is one of the distillery’s most popular expressions. It’s no longer on the market, so Balvenie is reviving it in a junior incarnation with this slightly younger version (due out this month). You get rum right off the bat, a big caramel nose that also invokes coconuts. The body is coating, sweet, and lush. At just $60, it’s a steal. 86 proof. UPDATE: Now officially called The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Years Old. A- / $60
The Balvenie Forty 40 Years Old – Just 150 bottles will be made of this ancient spirit, an intense and amazingly big whisky. It’s smoky on the nose, with wood chips underneath. Aged in bourbon and sherry casks, it’s interesting that Madeira-like characteristics are the most forthcoming in the body. Hot at 97 proof, it opens up with water. To be released in early 2011. A- / $3800