1 December 2011

Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch Number 2 "Tuntabulous"

After enjoying the splendor of a tour around a whisky distillery, an almost ‘kid in a candy store’ style of regression/mentality kicks in as you finish with the eagerly anticipated visit to the distillery shop.

This can indeed be a costly affair, particularly if you’ve been fortunate enough to sample a few drams during or at the end of the tour, then are set free in the shop under the influence and with a credit card.

Alongside the distilleries dramming offerings, glassware, trinkets and obligatory boxes of shortbread, it’s always a real treat when you discover that they offer a distillery only bottling amongst their wares. These on occasion can be truly exceptional drops of drammage, such as the Tun 1401 which was launched last year as Balvenie’s new distillery bottling.

After rave reviews and a rapturous roaring reception to this truly exceptional drop of drammage, music was well and truly ringing in my ears when I found out that the follow up Tun 1401 batch number 2, would infact be getting a general release to the sum of 3000 bottles.

As much as I love the almost romantic element to a distillery only bottling, a dram of this depth and distinction should quite rightly be available to be shared and appreciated by the dramming masses.

As with the first release batch 2 is a magnificent malty marriage from a vat (tun) of some of the finest whiskies that Balvenie have to offer, which have been chosen and married together to perfection by Master Distiller David Stewart.

The nose kicks off with a bold Balvenian signature burst of honey, infused with a concentrated cavalcade of dates, figs, stewed apples, orange marmalade and vanilla. Followed by a subtle zesting of lime, a small tin of pineapple chunks and the just baked allure of a Creole Christmas cake and a banoffe pie.

On the verge of being burnt clumps of caramel and subtle yet confident whiffs of Columbian coffee and Ecuadorian chocolate make for the next set of delights, along with wondrous waves of wood spice, a just opened can of Idris Ginger Beer and the aroma of freshly polished parquet floor in a school hall.

The palate which is a magnificently balanced malty multitasker, kicks off with yet more of those dates and figs, though this time round they exude a subtle edge of something sumptuously sherry-esque.

A glugging wave of wood spice and clove infused honey add an air of balance and distinction to the proceedings, as does the reappearance of that Creole Christmas cake, which in this instance has had a few extra drops of demerera rum added for good measure.

Fresh slices of pineapple sprinkled with cayenne pepper and a pitch perfect balanced addition of aged oak, cedar and vanilla make for the next set of palatable pleasures. Followed by an assortment of confectionary wonders in the form of sugared almonds, orange refreshers and a square or two of Cadbury’s Bournville chocolate.

A big wedge of the now sadly discontinued Sainsbury’s TTD Spiced apple cake then takes hold of the proceedings, just before this drop of drammage lowers its landing gear for its final approach. Delivering one heck of lingering touch down of a finish, that continues to echo it’s wealth of wonders long after you’ve had your last drop.