Balvenie got a lot of high marks with their Tun 1401 series over the last couple of years. The Tun 1858 was a release for Taiwan that Sam Simmons let us taste at Maltstock some 4 years ago, that was an awesome dram as well. I preferred that one to the 1401s, to be honest.
Then, last year they announced Tun 1509. This follows the 1401 series and is made of a larger parcel of casks and is a world wide release instead of a ‘regional’ one like the Tun 1401 batches.
Strangely, where the Tun 1401 sold out instantly, the Tun 1509 series has been available for a while and still is, at more or less the same price as upon release. Admittedly, it’s not a cheap dram but neither were the later batches of Tun 1401. Currently it’s available for a tad over € 300, which places it nicely out of my league.
Luckily, Rob ‘De Whiskykoning‘ loved it so much he put it in his best-of-2014 tasting which he did one final time last week. Since I was driving to and from the tasting he was kind enough to give me a couple of sample bottles so I could take a scrap of some of the drams home with me. Obviously, I brought this one as well as Glengoyne 25 and Lagavulin 12 CS (the 2013 release). Reviews of those two drams will follow shortly.
Tun 1509 batch one is made of 42 different casks, of which 35 are bourbon barrels and the remainder is 7 European oak sherry butts. This makes this whisky slightly less sherried than Tun 1401 which usually sat closer to a 50/50 ratio of bourbon vs. sherry oak.
On the nose the sherry influence is rather clear with hints of dry sherry and spices. It’s coming off a lot stronger than I expected with this being 47.1%. There’s banana and other fruits, with sweet spiced cake, honey and some leather. A very old fashioned nose on this whisky!
The palate is rich with lots of honey and spiced cake, even something we call ‘ontbijtkoek’. There’s ginger and dry sherry, oak and orange.
The finish is rich again with lots of oak and dry flavors. Lots of flavor which mostly is good, dry, sherry with fruit (mostly orange). Surprisingly, the finish isn’t very long.
While I really enjoyed Tun 1401’s batches, and I adored Tun 1858, I think this is my favorite one so far. Yesterday I finished the last centiliter of the dram I saved and I really, really loved it again. The depth and complexity of this whisky is huge.
What I like about it is that it’s true to Balvenie’s honey and orange profile, and has the typical flavors of good oak too. Added to that is a layer of strong flavors that complement the whisky very well and give it a little bit more punch, and depth.
I think the general consensus is that the 1401s were better, but I think I disagree. That happens quite a bit with my, as it seems, weird profile. I’m fine with that. I’m also considering how I can scrape enough money together to buy this, and how to explain that decisions to my beloved wife.
Balvenie Tun 1509, batch 1, 47.1% is still available in quite a few shops and prices vary from € 300 to € 840 (!!!). Check Whiskybase for prices.