You snooze you lose, right? Not quite. I may have missed the initial buzz when this important Balvenie was released in November last year but the sample I received survived just fine at the bottom of my ‘to do’ box and has now been dug up and poured. Much to my delight but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
The Balvenie Tun 1401 batch 2 comes from 10 old casks married for three months in the eponymous tun. Seven standard hoggies and three sherry butts from the celebrated warehouse 24 were involved, the company refers to them as ‘rarest treasures’. It follows the original Balvenie Tun 1401 (obviously) which was available at the distillery in 2010.
The Balvenie Tun 1401
Batch number 2
£150 Europe only (scarce)
Nose: Candy shop orgy of sweetness and processed fruit, deep leather aroma and oranges galore. Thyme honey and shortbread follow. Great intensity, complexity and clarity. Impressive.
Palate: Nobody sings Dylan like Dylan and no whisky does honey like Balvenie. The truth. But this time it’s a whole different ballgame, the honey is pronounced and manifests itself from aggressive entry to the last spasm of a lovely long finish, going from sweet to bitter and to sweet again. Lemon thyme, pink grapefruit and oaky darkness. Firm texture.
Overall: The Balvenie Tun 1401 batch 2 is an exceptional whisky, one I will remember for a long time. It has been a pleasure to review as it is quite simply flawless. It delivers the Balvenie house style with an oomph and is a great display of how great some of the stock at the Balvenie distillery must be. Shame we didn’t get batch 3 in Europe (US exclusive) but then, the Americans didn’t get batch 2 so we’re square. I’m looking forward to more and starting to campaign with the missus for a green light to buy a full bottle (how sad am I?).