Review: Sandeman Tawny Port 20 Years Old (2008)

Review: Sandeman Tawny Port 20 Years Old (2008)

I always seem to have a bottle of Port open and at the ready… but never get around to drinking it. Memo to self: Drink more Porto.

Sandeman’s 20 Year Tawny is a nicely mellowed tawny, not too rich or sweet (which I know turns many Port drinkers off), but still bearing some nice complexity.

The Sandeman is a deep orange, reminiscent of a good brandy. The flavor is lightly sweet but still unmistakably Port, balancing out its jammy notes and a distinct honey laciness with an intriguing, orange finish.

Sandeman obviously recognizes the lighter structure of this Port and is pitching it as a unique ingredient in making cocktails. Here are two, courtesy of Philip Ward at New York’s Death + Co. bar. (Updates in italics below from Ward.)

The Baltasar and Blimunda
1/2 oz. Sandeman 20 Years Old Tawny Port
2 oz. Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz. bitters
1/2 oz. vermouth (Punt e Mes recommended)

Stir. Serve up and garnish with flamed orange twist.

The Dahlgren
1 oz. Sandeman 20 Years Old Tawny Port
2 oz. tequila (blanco)
1 oz. ginger beer
3/4 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
dash of bitters (Angostura)

Shake well and serve in a highball glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

I tried the Dahlgren (with the guesses as noted above; picture at right)… not a bad concoction, definitely turns a light style Port into something pretty heavy. The tequila (use something good) plays intriguingly with the citrus character in the Port (and I love the ginger beer element… never would’ve thought of that), but I think this might be better with the proportions of Port vs. tequila reversed.

A- / $40 /

Sandeman Tawny Port 20 Years Old (2008)




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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