Monday, May 14, 2012

Ton of Love for Balvenie Tun 1401

While I will occasionally sip a Balvenie, it's never been a distillery whose whiskies I seek out. I've just never had a Balvenie that's gotten me excited, until now. Balvenie Tun 1401 is a vatting of seven bouron cask whiskies and three sherry cask whiskies (a tun is a large vat used for blending). There are, thus far, four batches of the 1401 for four different markets. Batch 3 is exclusively for U.S. distribution. There is no age statement on the whisky, but Balvenie has said that Batch 3 is "similar to" Batch 2 which went to Europe, Asia and South America and was made from casks "mostly from the 1970s with one from the 1960s and one from the 1980s."

Balvenie Tun 1401, Batch 3, 50.3% ($250)

The nose is very rich sherry with berries. The palate is lush and massively fruity with pears and sweet sherry notes and the finish has prunes and figs. This is a really nice sherried malt. The sherry is out front but not overwhelming; it's masterfully balanced and really a pleasure to drink. I'm not a huge sherry head but I really appreciated the balance and fruit on this malt.

People are quickly catching on to this one and it's starting to get picked off. If you want one, I would act quickly.


Tim Read said...

Agreed. It's a great one and I only recently had a chance to have some... it's not a sherry bomb, it's just a well-integrated one. I got all kinds of nice dried fruits off of it.. very well done. I'm not normally a Balvenie guy but that one is special.

NP said...

You got me interested. Might be something I ll pick up for a special occasion.

So far I did not get much luck with the brand. My worst Balvenie experience was - is - with the only bottle I own, the 21 portwood. So sweet and syrupy, I pour it to everyone who wants to try it with the hope it ll be finished soon.
A good thing it was a gift. I would have been pissed at myself otherwise.

sku said...

NP, I should disclose that when I did a tasting of the regular Balvenie offerings, the 21 portwood was probably my favorite, so you may not want to take my advice on this one.

Tim Read said...

I'm also a fan of the 21 Portwood but I don't think Tun 1401 has a lot in common... this has a much drier taste and mouthfeel and a lot more nuance on the palate. Quite nice.