I’ve had plenty to say about how great I think Balvenie’s Tun 1401 releases have been. Batch 6 has just been released in the US and I had my first pour this week. I don’t have a greater backdrop for this one, but wanted to pass along my impressions of it very briefly while you can still find it.
Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 6 49.8% ABV
Nose: Lighter and more delicate than previous batches. This has gentle hints of damp clay on a gray, slightly rainy autumn morning. A faint hint of leather, but it’s balanced upfront by the lighter and sweeter fruit notes. This batch shows some light passionfruit, a faint hint of peach, soft wood, a gentle bit of tobacco. The maltiness develops after a bit and some toffee shines through. Sherry notes emerge after even more time, giving hints of ripe red fruits.
Palate: Nice mouthfeel, lightly oily. A bit of sweetness led by oranges with a hint of toffee behind it. A little light leathery quality; think of a new Coach wallet. A little lemon perks it up; there’s a hint of ripe cantaloupe adding some body. Light vanilla creaminess and some very gentle malt. A touch of tobacco and white pepper adding spice. Some wood adds a little firm body to this palate.
Finish: Drier on the finish than the palate would suggest, tobacco and white pepper with oak that runs slightly bitter upfront and stays that way.
Comment: Definitely one to sit with and let evolve. Tun 1401 doesn’t disappoint. The nose continues to evolve and hold surprise; the palate is a delightful mix of sweet and creamy. The finish is unfortunately off a bit with the bitter wood but it’s still really nice.
Bottom line? It’s still a great whisky, but it’s not at the level of Batch 3, which I still think is a world-beater. If you’re fortunate enough to find a bottle of #3, grab it. Otherwise, Batch 6 is still likely to be one of the better whiskies you’ll have this year. This will likely start hitting retailers soon so keep your eyes open. Now to wait until sometime next year for the next batch! LAWS has other perspectives on this but it’s unanimously B+ to this point (which is an impressive feat all by itself).