Ah, the Balvenie Tun 1401 series. Whiskies that have been hyped incredibly since 2012 with each of them selling out really fast. Most reviews have been in the ‘this is a steal at € 200’ category.
For some reason it took me quite a while before I got my hands on a few samples. Not that the samples weren’t available, but I just never thought about getting them. Until last February that is. I happily bought them from Mr. Malstock, Teun van Wel at the Hielander Whisky Festival in Alkmaar.
This batch 3 was made for the American market and consists of a blend of 7 bourbon casks and 3 sherry butts, the oldest being from 1967, the youngest from 1989. Technically that makes this a 22 year old whisky but I don’t think many people care about the age of this type of whisky.
The first whiff makes me feel rich. The whisky is rich too and full bodied. There’s fresh baked bread, just crushed barley corns, cookie dough, ginger and toasted oak. Then I also get a bit of the sherry scents. Wood and wine. Is that rancio of am I misusing that term now? The background of this whisky is fresh with mint.
Not sharp at all but there is quite some spice. Wood, pepper, sherry and that wine/wood thingy again. Vanilla and old coconut with peach and corky apples.
The finish is gentle but very, very tasty. Maybe a tad thin but still rather long. Dusty and moldy like an old attic with the sunlight pouring in. Some mushrooms maybe?
I always have trouble properly appreciating Balvenie whiskies. The regulars normally don’t sit well with me so I never spent a dime on double wood, 12 and 15 year old and such. During Maltstock my perception changed significantly during the masterclass by Sam Simmons. This one would have fit that masterclass. It is a truly beautiful whisky, but it is one you have to sit down with and get to know a bit. If I would have tasted it during a festival or so, it’s beauty would have been lost on me.
Balvenie Tun 1401, Batch 3, USA only, 50.3%. No longer available, but if you find it in an auction, be prepared to sell a family member.