The Balvenie’s Tun 1509 series is finally getting its long-awaited seventh release. For those unfamiliar, the series is designed to bring to life master distiller David Stewart’s 58 years of distilling and blending experience “through an expression of exemplary quality and character.”
Here’s some detail:
To produce Batch 7 of Tun 1509, Stewart continued his exploration of the Speyside distillery’s aged and precious stocks to find 21 unique casks to marry in the Tun, which is maintained by the distillery’s team of on-site coopers and sits proudly in Warehouse 24. The liquid was left to marry for three months before being bottled at the distillery. This rare technique creates the perfect environment for the different casks to ‘knit’ together, allowing each of their composite qualities to mix and create a unique single malt Scotch whisky which is more than the sum of its constituent parts.
Launching across the United States this month, The Balvenie Tun 1509 Batch 7 is comprised of liquid from Sherry Hogshead, Ex Bourbon American Oak Barrels and DoubleWood Refill Sherry Butts, which were used once to finish DoubleWood before being filled with New Make and aged.
One of the fun things about the series is that The Balvenie tells you about each of the 21 casks in the blend, if you really want to get nerdy about it. I won’t dig into every cask number, but the breakdown is 10 refill sherry butts, 4 refill barrels (ex bourbon), and 7 sherry hogsheads.
We got a sample of the release to taste. Let’s dig in.
This is top-shelf Balvenie, no question. The nose here exudes the sherry influence in the whisky, but there’s also a ton (tun?) of oak in the mix. Boldly nutty and spicy with lively aromas of hot buttered rum, it’s racy but well balanced.
The palate is again quite nutty, with notes of brown butter and dried fruits offering a smoldering, low octane experience. There’s some mushroom in the mix, but otherwise the experience has a gentle sweetness to it. On the finish, sherry makes a triumphant return, with notes of raisins and old, oily leather all well represented.
It’s a really beautiful whisky that’s hard to put down, but it also comes across as a bit subdued. I wouldn’t say I’ve already forgotten it now that my sample bottle is empty, but it isn’t so unique that it’s seared into my brain.
A- / $410 / thebalvenie.com