My love affair with 20 year tawny port began three years ago in the tasting room at Taylor Fladgate Port House in Porto, Portugal. Consumed alongside two very good vintage Ports, Taylor's 20 Year
Tawny kept luring me back like the sweet, seductive songs of the Sirens that lured Odysseus. Since that time, I have been on the alert for suitably priced bottles of 20 Year Tawny. The going retail price is upwards of $50 a bottle, but I know that I will get at least four times that much pleasure just from smelling what's in the bottle.
The color is tawny, of course, from 20 plus years of aging in old barrels. The scents and flavors that have developed as a result of that aging are unbelievable. Toffee, walnuts, dates, figs and orange zest. Every sniff is a new revelation. Tasted side-by-side with a regular Fine Tawny from the same Port house, there is no comparison--Concord grape juice compared to a first growth Bordeaux. I still prefer Taylor's 20 Year Tawny, but right now I have no complaints about Dow's.
I have never tried a 30 or 40 Year Tawny. The price is even higher,. and the word I get is that 20 Year offers the best quality/price ratio.