A special vatting, there are 4 different batches of Tun 1401 as of this publication. This one is a US release only, and is said by the distillery to be similar to Batch 2 which is "made up of 10 casks, mostly from the 1970s with one from the 1960s and one from the 1980s."
You know what Balvenie does really well? THIS. An incredibly drinkable and balanced malt, not too heavy or too light (much like their go-to Doublewood is). Big fruits of all kinds, fresh and dried, moderated sherry influence mixed with light mulling spices and milk caramel. Great silky mouthfeel. Oak in the finish says hello but not too loudly. Hard to take notes, just want to drink more!
This smells great. Its definitely sherried but not overwhelming because its balanced by things you smell in the forest (tree sap, pine, and evergreen). More of the sherry fruits come through on the palate with a hint of rubber and black coffee. A lasting lightly sweet plumb finish that eventually get spicy.
This has got be one of my favorite Balvenies. Snatch em up!
After going through a good portion of a bottle I had to bump this up to a solid A.
Balvenie is known for being a safe and solid scotchy scotch. Never bad, never great. Apparently there is a line they've drawn in the sand, a pricey line, but on one side of it is very good scotch. This guy crossed the line and at $250 stands proudly with the Balvenie luxury lineup in quality .
n: Dark fruits. Plums, Cherry snow cone syrup. Rich, strong, and fantastic.
p: Flash of sweet candies. Cherry and licorice sugar plums. Hints of mint. Mouthfeel could be thicker, but the flavor is overwhelming enough as it is. Finish leans toward orange wedge candies and the slightest hint of Spanish cedar. Not a scotch for dessert... a dessert in itself.
In my typical highball fashion, I'm gonna be the guy to give this an A. I've tried this on several occasions and it stood out with its huge and delicious flavor profile. N: Great rich wood spice, lots of butter cookies, wood polish, condensed oranges (if there is such a thing). P: Very savory, like French toast with powdered sugar that's been soaking in the syrup and gotten soggy and infused. F: Lip smacking good! Silky smooth.
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.
N: Beautiful balance of wood and dried fruits. Some light dried oranges, some waxy apple skin. Slightly figgy with some molasses. A whiff of marmite but not much. Great sherry influence, not overpowering at all. Perfectly balanced.
P: Gentle entry into the palate, lightly sweet with dried fruit again. Waxy apples present themselves first, nice jammy notes with some plum as well. A little more faint molasses and marmite with a good dose of figs. Faint dusting of white pepper. A good balance with some nice oak that lends depth but not bitterness. The palate is rich and mouth-coating without going in the direction of syrupy.
F: Gently warming, lasting, with the dried fruit notes still in abundance. A slightly brighter note - a momentary flash of mint? Nice and rich, woody and waxy.
This is an absolutely wonderful Balvenie with a nose I could enjoy all day. I can't think of much I'd really change on this because it's phenomenally balanced. Sherry is there but not overwhelming, it's substantial but not out of balance. It's just a masterpiece. If it weren't for the pricetag and the fact that this stuff is getting harder to find already, I'd probably buy it by the case.
As this is the best scotch whisky I can remember in a year, it's a default A. If I could not drink whisky, I'd be happy nosing this alone. But I can drink it, which is even better. Best Balvenie for sure.