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Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 4

Average score from 2 reviews and 2 ratings 95

Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 4

Product details

  • Brand: Speyside
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 50.4%

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Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 4

Another one off the bucket list. Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to get hold of this when it first came out? I mean by the time I managed to locate two stragglers sitting on a shelf somewhere in Eastern Europe the price on this had literally tripled.

Luckily for me news doesn't travel as fast to that part of the globe and I was lucky enough to pick up a couple of these bottles at a fairly decent price. Now when I look at various auctions I'm thankful I picked them when I had the chance.

I'm pretty sure by now you know what the Tun is. It's actually a massive holding vat in Warehouse 24 that Master Blender David Stewart employed to mix and marry a variety of vintage Balvenies for up to three months to create this special series.

Batch No 4 consists of seven bourbon aged Balvenies and three sherry with spirit rumoured to be distilled as far back as 1966 and as early as 1988 making this quite a special little expression.

My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 50.4% ABV

If there's anything David Stewart does is craft an ingenious nose. Every time. Burnt toast. Sherry. Lots of clove. Touch of sweetness. But with a sea saltiness too. Tobacco leaf. Toasted oak. Let it sit and a mild floral fragrance starts coming through. Green melon. Wild red berries. This is a solid nose. Reminded me of the Balvenie 30. 23/25

So strong. Robust. Coats the entire mouth. Quite dry yet chewy at the same time. Black peppercorns. Cinnamon. Blood oranges. Bitter chocolate. Wait... Lindt Intense Orange. With the orange not so intense. That toasted oak again. Get's salty mid-palate. And now comes with a spicy betel nut leaf. Not as sweet as the nose suggested. Quite crisp with the poised oakiness a testament to it's age and quality. 23/25

What the hell? This one stayed in my mouth long after I had washed the glasses and kept away the bottle. Clove. Betel nut. Again quite savory. Almost masala like. Good masala, mind you. Touch of oils. Bitter chocolate. 24/25

This is a superb example of vintage whisky done right. You can smell the elegance a mile off. The mouthfeel is arresting. But it's the finish that did it for me. Stayed for eons on the lips. There was a lot of unashamed smacking going on after I was done. Find it. Drink it.

Sounds very good! I'm not a big Balvenie fan but this is one I'd really like to sample


Review : Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch #4, 50.4%

Details: This is a mix of seven scotches aged in American oak casks and three others aged in sherry casks distilled between 1966 and 1988.

Colour: A dark, rich amber.

Nose: Barely a trace of alcohol. You can dunk your nose directly in the glass without any burn whatsoever and inhale to your hearts content. There is a sweet fruit smell reminding me vaguely of Porto, and a superb honey touch. The oak also weaves through and complements the rest.

Mouth: The first thing that surfaces is a spicy wood taste with a tame burn. As soon as the spice fades a bit, it leaves the way open to the wonderful vanilla and honey. The sweet Porto taste is definitely morphing into a citrus taste. I can't believe how complex it is while being so smooth.

Finish: The oak stands out here along with a fresher, more bitter fruit (apples?). The finish is very delicate albeit very long. I'm coming up on ten minutes without a sip and I'm still licking my lips.

Conclusion: As much as I loved the 21y Portwood, this almost makes it taste like the Doublewood. It feels more complex, richer and smoother (if that's possible) while being over 50% ABV. It's hard to explain but it feels like there is a sense of purpose to this Scotch, that it was not built but destined to taste like this. This is the Scotch that will make me buy less to get better quality. At 175$, you can bet I'll grab a bottle every single time I pass the border.

TOTAL: 97/100

Which duty free store at border crossing did you pick the Balvenie Tun 1401 for $175?

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