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Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 1

Batches 1 through 6 and counting.

0 996

hReview by @hydrophil

26th Oct 2012

0

  • Nose
    24
  • Taste
    24
  • Finish
    25
  • Balance
    23
  • Overall
    96

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I am a small time investor in whisky. I buy what I think might sell well in the future.

About 6 months ago I bought a few of the batch 5, then going through an airport I saw batch 4 hidden away in dark corner and snapped up the last three of them. Then I hunted around and found a few more still available of batch 2, I still hadn't tried even a dram of this stuff at this time, but I saw a lot of internet chatter about Tun 1401.

For some reason I thought, what the hell, let's complete the collection. I then paid a stupid amount for a bottle of batch 1 (about £1000/$1500) from scotchwhiskyauctions.com. I got two bottles of batch 3 imported from the US for retail price (Yeeha!)

It got to a stage where I had the best part of 15 or 20 bottles of a whisky I had never even tasted. I figured, well, if it all appreciates by even 10% I can afford to drink a bottle or two and lose nothing.

Well, I cracked open a bottle of batch 2 (I had three of them and knew where I could get two more for a decent price). NECTAR!

Such a rich, woody, complex, sweet nose and deep amber colour. Even through the initial alcohol fumes, but after letting the glass sit for 15 minutes the nose just developed constantly.

If you leave the glass to sit for a few hours the smell of a bowl of prunes and figs with a hint of sweet bonfire smoke. Damn, it's mesmerising.

Then, I had to open a bottle from another batch to compare. Batch 5, very comparable but softer flavours and nose, but perhaps more complex and lighter at the same time.

At the time of writing this review batch 6 has just been launched a week ago and I had my bottles of it arrive this morning.

My intention has now changed. I am keeping one bottle of each batch as an investment. A fully intact range of every single batch released. However, every single other Tun 1401 I own has now migrated to my "I REALLY need to drink this" collection rather than my "do not touch my investment" collection. Aside from Karuizawa Noh bottlings, this is the only time I have ever gone against my original intentions and turning an investment into something I cannot resist myself.

I would be hard pushed to state which expression, but I can tell you, Tun 1401 is in my top 5 whisky drinking experiences and I really recommend you crack open that bottle you have tucked away and drink it.

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9 comments

@jeanluc
jeanluc commented

Nice to have a complete set :) equally nice to be able to dip in to test the quality :)=)

8 years ago 0

kian commented

I really loved the tun 1401, consistently superb batches of whisky and will be buying the next uk release when it comes out if I am quick enough and have the cash. Curious to know how much you paid for batch 2 and how much you expect to make?

8 years ago 0

hydrophil commented

There is still the odd bottle of batch 2 floating around and depending on how lucky you are (without giving away some of my sourcing secrets) you can find it for anything from £150 to £300 at this point in time. Naturally, I buy any £150 bottles I see.

Short term, I don't think UK batches will go up that quickly, but US batches and travel retail seem to double in price within a short time frame.

Over a 5 to 10 year window (which is my time frame). I would expect Batch 1 to be worth £2.5k to £5k and then all of the other early batches to be worth between £500 to £1500 depending on - frequency in auctions, published scores by noted reviewers, market expansion, etc.

It is increasingly seen as an iconic whisky and despite still being occasionally available in some bizarre outlets for retail price, it tracks higher every auction aside from being some of the best damned whiskies I have every drunk.

8 years ago 0

kian commented

Thats not a bad return on your money. Do you think if the Tun series is still being bottled in 5-10 years people will pay between £500-1500 for early batches? Also how many other bottles would you say you have in total and what have you been selling recently and for how much profit. I find the whole whisky buying/selling thing really interesting, thanks.

8 years ago 0

hydrophil commented

Hi Kian. Whisky is one of the best investments in the global market today for any kind of investment level. I used to be a market analyst and have not seen annual growth rates approaching this with such stability anywhere else. Of course, things can go up and down, but even if the recession leads into another boom cycle it should just increase the demand for luxury goods. So, for luxury commodities to do so well during a downturn is excellent.

The global whisky market is growing as a whole, yet the amount of truly old, aged single malts is limited and dwindling in relative terms. I actually wrote an algorithm that factors in a variety of attributes: number of initial bottles, time in barrel, metascore from reviewers, popularity of distillery, how active the distillery is, etc. Then I tracked this back against historical data from auction sites and it was pretty close. The algorithm projects very healthy returns.

And yes, people always want to return to the source, they want the earliest examples of what they have come to love and what made a range popular.

Also, certain releases of Tun 1401 are harder to obtain depending on where you are in the world. However, like any investment, I would never advocate drawing all your bottles from one keg (or tun in this case). Diversification is key, but when you know that something is good it's not a bad idea to go into it hard for a time. For me, at the moment, Karuizawa, Brora, Tun 1401 and a few others are good investments right now.

I have not been selling. I am still in the acquisition stage. In total I do not have a lot of bottles, but the average bottle is worth a fair bit.

I expect, even if things don't perform very well, to have more than tripled my money within a decade with minimal risk.

For example, I have some bottles of 42 year old Karuizawa 1967. This is one of the oldest whiskies produced by Japan, with amazingly high scores by every critic that tried it, less than 200 bottles left in the world, the distillery has been obliterated off the face of the Earth. A year ago you could buy this drink for about £500 a bottle, now I reckon it's over £2000 and probably, within a decade those bottles could go for anything up to £10k if the market holds out.

You need to know what you're buying, but if you make a bad mistake or two you can always drink it or give it away as a nice gift or swap it with someone for something else.

8 years ago 0

kian commented

Karuizawa and Brora seem to be good choices for a nice little return just as long as you buy the right ones. Are the others bottles you have from closed distilleries and would you consider them to be a safer bet compared to active ones. I have bought a few whiskies over the years Clynelish in particular and wondered had I kept them for a good few years how much they may be worth, but if the distillery maintains the same quality consistently then its probably not going to be worth doing.

8 years ago 0

hydrophil commented

I believe Clynelish is Brora. I may be mistaken. Value goes up for a number of reasons - the particular expression came in a nice box, it was limited to a few hundred bottles, it was the oldest, etc. It's always worth looking for a unique characteristic in addition to the reputation of the distillery. Also, basic economics - scarcity breeds value. Snow Phoenix, for example, is a limited edition of about 6.9 billion bottles. It's not very scarce. Whereas some of the 60 and 70 year olds, very scarce. If something tastes good and is scarce it will go up in value.

8 years ago 0

kian commented

To cut a long story short yes Clynelish is Brora but they were 2 distilleries running at the same time, only Brora stopped producing quite a while ago and goes for the big money, only Clynelish is now operational. Good luck with it all anyway and if you fancy selling me a tun 1401 batch 2 for £150 or tell me where you found it then go right ahead......

8 years ago 0

DevD commented

I have chanced upon a bottle of batch no 6 for $258(after tax). Should I pick it up?

7 years ago 0

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