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Robb Report Vices

Speyside Expressions

Shaun Tolson

We’ll just come right out and say it: October marks the release of something special.

The Balvenie has long been known for its high-quality single malts, both in standard and limited quantities, and the Speyside distillery in Dufftown, Scotland, is at it again. Beginning this month, whisky enthusiasts should be on the lookout for The Balvenie’s Tun 1401, Batch 9, a blend of exceptional liquids from a number of the distillery’s casks, which retails for $250 and will be limited to only 2,400 bottles in the US. Batch 9, as the name suggests, is the ninth iteration of Tun 1401 but only the third that the distillery has released in the States. The two previous expressions to reach American consumers, Batch 3 and Batch 6, were released in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

“We’ve identified what we believe to be an unprecedented range of liquids to comprise this Tun 1401 batch from the vast library of very rare whisky currently maturing,” says David Stewart, the distillery’s malt master.

In addition to crafting delicious spirits, The Balvenie has an exceptional reputation for producing whiskeys that appreciate in value. According to the Whisky Highland Index, a metric used to rate Scotland’s distilleries based on their investment potential, The Balvenie has ranked in the top five for the last three years. We admit that keeping a cork in the bottle of such an exceptional whisky seems a bit sacrilegious, but it is hard to argue with the numbers: A bottle of the inaugural batch of Tun 1401 is currently valued at more than 500 percent its original price.

Of course, Stewart’s tasting notes for this limited release give us pause. “The end result is a complex and completely unique marriage of dark fruits and marmalade on the nose,” he says. “Its richness and smoothness is underpinned with dark chocolate sweetness, delicate honey notes, and a long, spicy finish.”

Pouring a dram for ourselves, we’re immediately struck by the batch’s bright, honeycomb sweetness, which transitions to a silkiness laced with hints of lavender and blackberry. It finishes, just as Stewart proclaims, with a robust dose of pepper.

On second thought... maybe you should open that bottle after all. Then again, your best investment might just be a second bottle. Your only challenge—aside from finding another bottle—will be keeping it unopened after your first one runs dry. (http://us.thebalvenie.com/)

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