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Balvenie 21 vs Glenmorangie Signet: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Balvenie 21 vs Glenmorangie Signet in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Balvenie Portwood 21

  • Nose: Fig, plum, peach, black tea
  • Palate: Honey, dried, fruit, almond, pecan
  • Finish: Burnt caramel, ginger, chocolate
  • Alcohol content: 95 proof (47.6% ABV)
  • How to drink: Neat
  • Similar to: Blue Label, Glenfiddich 21


The nose hits with fruity sweetness displaying hints of fig, plum and peach followed by the scent of black tea.

On the palate, the Balvenie 21 provides a good mouthfeel as it feels oily. The first sip brings a pleasant warming note that does not overwhelm.

Flavor is smooth with a sweet honeyed taste, with hints of dried fruit, almond and pecan.

The finish lingers with virtually no burn on the way down with hints of burnt caramel, ginger and bitter chocolate.

Adding a dash of water releases a floral note along a bit of oak which is surprisingly absent in a 21 YO whisky.

Is it good?

Yes, this malt is supremely good. The 21 YO is smooth yet complex and deep.

Those flavours from the port pipes are nicely balanced and it doesn’t come across too sweet delivering a solid drinker that deserves to be paired with a cigar.

It provides a solid experience from nose to finish with no let-downs and one well worth trying.

Balvenie 21 facts:

  • Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2009 and 2012.
  • Earned 94 points from the Beverage Testing Institute in 2009 and 2010.
  • The Balvenie 21 is initially aged in bourbon barrels before finishing in 30 year old Port pipes.
  • A pipe is an oak container that holds up to 600 liters while a bourbon barrel just 120 liters.
  • Balvenie is the only Scottish distillery that continues to grow and malt its own barley.
  • Balvenie is a Speyside Whisky owned by William Grant & Sons along Glenfiddich.

Glenmorangie Signet

  • Nose: Cinnamon, orange zest, dried fruit
  • Palate: Espresso coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla, orange
  • Finish: Long, tobacco, almond, baking spice
  • Alcohol content: 92 proof (46% ABV)
  • How to drink: Neat
  • Similar to: Macallan 18 Sherry Oak, Blue Label


Fruitcake on the nose as it hits with cinnamon, dried fruit, dates, raisins and a dash of orange zest.

This is not only a beautiful nose but one of the best in Single Malt Whisky.

On the palate, the Signet feels smooth and oily providing a great mouthfeel.

Flavor brings a pleasing warming note upfront rich in espresso coffee and dark chocolate followed by vanilla and a bit of orange peel.

The finish lingers with satisfying warmth on the way down, with notes of tobacco, almond and a touch of baking spice

Is it good?

This malt is incredibly good and one of the best I have come across.

The Signet strikes an incredible balance between the coffee and chocolate bitterness with vanilla and caramel sweetness that gets better as you keep drinking it.

The Glenmorangie Signet is good from nose to finish, with no let downs providing a great experience.

Doesn’t come cheap, though, but worth it on special occasions.

Glenmorangie Signet facts:

  • The Signet is made from a blend of whiskies produced from two unique types of malted barley: a single estate Cadboll variety and roasted malted chocolate barley, which is commonly used as a basis for craft beers.
  • It does not provide an age statement.
  • Aged in virgin oak casks.
  • This is a non chill-filtered whisky.
  • Glenmorangie assures that there are 30 to 40 year old whiskies in the blend.
  • Glenmorangie is owned by Paris-based LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton).

What do Balvenie 21 and the Glenmorangie Signet have in common?

The only thing to dislike about these whiskies is that they are artificially coloured.

This practice is legit according to the set of laws that regulate Scotch whisky production established in 2009 but this is something I frown-upon as I feel somewhat cheated.

Not a deal-breaker, though, but all things being equal I prefer pours that come with natural color.

Balvenie 21 vs Glenmorangie Signet: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Balvenie 21 PortWood$300
Glenmorangie Signet$280

Balvenie 21 vs Glenmorangie Signet: Which is better?

WhiskyBalvenie 21Signet
  • This is a tough one as both are incredibly good and two of the top ranked Single Malts making it hard to call a winner.
  • If I were forced to pick one that would be the Glenmorangie Signet as it hits with a bitter chocolate/coffee duo at first to later reward you with vanilla/caramel sweetness in a creamy body that keeps you coming back for more.
  • But I wouldn’t dismiss the Balvenie which has a more traditional sherried whisky profile making a very satisfying dram.