There’s been a lot of hype around the Balvenie Tun 1509 releases over the last few months, so I’ve been eager to see why this expression had been appealing to many. Not wanting to spend upwards of $400 on a bottle just to see what all the fuss was about, I went on the hunt to find it at a whisky bar. Surprisingly, I found the Tun 1509 Batch 4 release in Japan for ¥3200 ($28 USD).
The Tun 1509 Batch 4 (2017) release is a vatting of 13 first-fill American oak barrels and 10 European oak sherry butts. The vatting was transferred to Tun 1509, where the carefully selected matured casks of various vintages marry together to create a unique expression.
The Tun 1509 Batch 4 is a very dessert like dram, lots of pastry and brown sugar notes, complemented by caramel, honey, an ripe fruits. It’s a very different expression from the other Balvenie whisky I’ve tried. The oakyness you get from some of the other Balvenie expressions is not apparent in the Tun 1509 Batch 4.
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley
Cask Type: First-fill American oak, European oak sherry butts
Chill Filtered: No
Color Added: No
Glass for Review: Tulip (rested for 5 Minutes)
Nose: Sweet ripe fruits, slight burn of alcohol, oatmeal, caramel and honey
Palate: Breakfast cereal, sweet brown sugars, black pepper, a taste of raspberry dark chocolate lingers at the end.
Finish: Pastry dough, sugar icing, with molasses. The spicy kick comes after a few seconds.
Overall: This is a great dram, but I question if it’s worth the price tag. If it we’re closer to $150 I’d consider it. But for $400 there are better whiskies out there. In fact, the Caribbean Cask is almost as good at less than a quarter the price.
Average Price: $350-400+ USD