What's It All About, eh?

Cape Breton evokes deep memories and strong emotions for me as well as a deep appreciation for the beauty of my adopted island. My hopes are that you too might find the photos evocative - maybe a view you've not enjoyed before, or an 'Oh I've been there', or if from away that you may be encouraged to visit this fair isle so that you might come to love and breathe Cape Breton as I do. One word about place names that I use - some are completely local usage while others are from maps of Cape Breton that I've purchased over the years. I frequently post travel and other photos that are of interest to me - and hopefully you.

On the right hand side bar find my take on Single Malt whiskey - from how to best enjoy this noble drink to reviews (in a most non-professional manner) of ones that I have tried and liked - or not. Also musings, mine and others, on life in general.

Photographs are roughly 98%+ my own and copy-righted. For the occasional photo that is borrowed, credit is given where possible - recently I have started posting unusual net photographs that seem unique. Feel free to borrow any of my photos for non-commercial use, otherwise contact me. Starting late in 2013 I have tried to be consistent in identifying my photographs using ©smck on all out of camera photos I personally captured - (I often do minor computer changes such as 'crop' or 'shadow' etc but usually nothing major), and using
©norvellhimself on all photos that I have played around with in case it might not be obvious. Lately I have dropped the ©smck and have watermarked them with the blog name.

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The Balvenie Port Wood 21 Year Old

Well I do promise things that I forget to deliver on don't I (i.e. the posting of 05 April 2013).  But 'better late than never' some flaker like myself once said.

First, with reference to the price and me being a tight-fisted old wanna-be Scot (third generation on my mom's side and who knows how far back on me dad's) - I happened to be visiting my son in Baltimore and we stopped for awhile in an interesting liquor and deli store where among other great items of interest they had a small three-pack of Scotch 50ml (@1.7 oz) miniatures -  one The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 year old, one The Balvenie Single Barrel 15 year old, and one The Balvenie PortWood 21 year old.  Buying miniatures is normally not a cost effective way to buy booze but if what you are interested in is sampling a new, to you, variety of Scotch then it is a reasonably inexpensive route to take and especially if your new sample turns out to be unappealing to you.

My son had already tried this particular packaging of The Balvenie and had commented to me that although decent the 21 year old had not appealed to him, that the 15 year old Single Barrel was his favorite (of the three) and the 12 year DoubleWood was definitely his second choice.

I live in a somewhat rural area (by east coast standards at any rate) and was never able to find any liquor outlet locally that carried miniatures so from this fortunate display I quickly bought and brought home a packet of miniatures shown in the second photo.  Eventually I got around to trying one of the aforementioned miniatures - the 21 year old PortWood, and will say that I, having had a bottle or two in years past of the DoubleWood, will probably end up agreeing in full with my son.  Not that the two small samples that I drank from the miniature were not good, they were, but not worth the going price for this aged whisky.

The following review was listed on forpeatsake.com with the reviews ranging from 96 to 81 (with one outlier of 55).  I choose to list this review because it reflects my own judgement of it being a decent whisky and that he was glad that he had just bought a miniature as it was just not worth the price for a full bottle.  As always, I think that if you have the money and the inclination then try this decent drink for all of us seem to have different taste preferences in whisky - just look at the range of scores - but if your taste has been in line with my previous reviews and your pockets are not deep then perhaps you could skip The Balvenie 21 year old with no loss.

Review by ColoradoDram on Forpeatsake.com

Color   Medium amber.
Nose    Flowery over all else. Water opens up vanilla , nuttiness, and winey oak.
Body   Full bodied, very oily.
Palate  Sweet raisins, heather, dry wine.
Finish  Very warm, very long, and extremely dry. 
score - 83
Himself says - Best served neat (like most Balvenies). This is mature, refined, and consistent, but I'll take the inconsistencies of the 15 year Single Barrel on depth of character alone. Thank goodness I bought this in taster size, because there are much better values out there for dry wine finishes.


  1. Hello Paulo, I am so glad that you visited my blog and in particular that you share a love single malt whisky. I have never tried the 17 year old but based on having tried the 12, 15 and 21 year old, I would tend to believe that the 17 year old would also be very good. Though pursuing the site you mention (Garrafeira) the 17 year old seems pricey for my pocket - so it would be a leap of faith to try it out. i did however 'Google' a review or two from some decent review sites and found that in general it was well rated albeit a bit pricey. Here is one site that I looked at - https://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/P-7214.aspx - "
    Tasting Notes from Whiskyfun (Serge Valentin)

    This brand new Balvenie was fully matured in Oloroso sherry casks.

    Colour: deep amber with bronze hues.

    Nose: starts immediately dry, mostly on coffee and bitter cocoa, which is certainly unusual for Balvenie, but rather beautiful. Gets even more coffeeish (all kinds of coffee, from espresso to café latte) and rather perfectly spicy (cinnamon, nutmeg, hints of star anise), and then more ‘antique’, with old leather, wax polish, old furniture... Discreet whiffs of soy sauce, but not meatiness here. I really like this one, very cleanly dry.

    Mouth: a slight weakness at the attack due to the low strength but it’s soon to take off, on these coffeeish and chocolaty notes again, prunes, Corinth raisins, the same spices as on the nose and a slight, pleasant tannicity (not bone-dry). Maybe the middle is a bit weakish again but the finish is longer again, rather full, clean, still very dry, with pleasant tannins and an aftertaste on cooked blackcurrants and prunes. A success I think. 88 points."
    You might want to look at a few more reviews on your own. Good luck and sorry I was not more helpful, Norvellhimself