Archive for the ‘Ben Nevis’ Category

The Single Cask Ben Nevis 1996 (20 year old) 51.7%

Cask V196/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Feb 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

Heavy, malty aromas with hints of white wine vinegar and sharp citrus. Subtly oaked with a touch of barley, but those off notes are too intrusive.

The palate is subtly malty and edgy with barley and white wine vinegar. Good intensity but it’s really bitter and citric on the middle. There’s a little creamy oak on the finish, but it doesn’t have enough impact to offset the slightly rough spirit.


Signatory Unchillfiltered Collection Ben Nevis 1991 (22 year old) 46%

Sherry Butt 2908/ Dist: Aug 1991 Btl: Jan 2014/ Tasted: Mar 2014

The nose opens with hard as nails barley and refill sherry choc/coffee tannins. Slightly malty and doughy with hints of tobacco, olives and perfumed flowers. Seems a lot younger.

Soft-ish on the palate. Grain refill sherry, touch of malt, tobacco and gentle yet grainy spices. The wood encroach in the middle and bitter the bell out of the finish. Spitting splinters now!

Maverick Drinks Darkness! Ben Nevis 17 year old 49%

Palo Cortado Sherry Cask Finish/ Cask No 1494/ Tasted: Oct 2015

Very herbal and meaty aromas with malt, treacle and sweet, dark honey. This is a serious maltfest! With time a touch of vanilla oak, cold tea and earth appears.

The palate is thick and malty. I need a knife and fork for this one! Treacle, building bitter tannins and the alcohol kick in on the middle to balance the sweetness, but there’s no subduing the malt! Long and treacly with mouth-watering barley, citrus, subtle sweet spice and guess what? Yes. Malt!

Claxton’s The Single Cask Ben Nevis 1998 (17 year old) 54%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead 1608-1552/ Dist: Dec 1998 Btl: Oct 2016?/ Tasted: Nov 2016

A robust, heathery, malty and bready nose. Lightly herbal with hints of mature baked fruit and subtle balsamic notes. With time the toffee’d and sweet oak vanillins appear along with a slight perfumed note.

The palate is full, malty and bready with malt, malt and more malt! Hints of dense vanilla, heather, coffee and treacle follow. The oak becomes pleasantly succulent and supple on the middle and the finish is long, slightly citric and herbal with the underlying oak and malt balancing.

Blackadder Raw Cask Ben Nevis 1996 (18 year old) 53.3%

Dist: 1996 Btl: 2015/ Tasted: June 2016

Thick, chunky, bready and forsquare with hints of sherry laced prunes, olive oil and dusty, mature oak. Lovely, sub-Armagnac-esque rancio and a touch of buttery/ toasty oak with time. Very complex and impressive.

The palate is moist and juicy with raisin, dates, plum and a touch of coffee and sweet treacle. Like the nose it is pleasantly dusty and mature with a lovely aged rancio. Hints of violets, toast, walnut butter and sweet spice follow. Long and spicy with a touch of crisp, grassy white fruit, apricot along with lingering sweet spices and barley in the finish.

Edition Spirits ‘The First Editions’ Ben Nevis 1996 (18 year old) 46.5%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: EDI0114/HL11790

Dist: Oct 1996 Btl: Sept 2015/ Tasted: Oct 2015

Fresh and gristy aromas with lime, lemon and crisp white fruit. With time a touch of bready, baked fruit, barley, herbs and voluptuous vanilla.

The palate is fresh and fruity – pineapple, apricot and tangerine, not quite tropical but pleasantly pure with hints of citrus and almost bubblegummy white fruit. Subtle oak and bready, malty notes come through on the middle. Lovely fresh and citric finish with the creamy vanilla putting in a brief appearance. Very impressive.

Edition Spirits ‘The First Edition’ Ben Nevis 1996 (19 year old) 53.1%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: EDI0131/ Dist: May 1996 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: May 2017

The aromas are beautiful soft and supple with baked fruit, vanilla and bready notes. Wonderfully complex with rose petals, pepper and strawberry mousse. Cinnamon and nutmeg notes develop along with the creamy American oak. Has someone vatted some ‘toshan in with this Nevis?

The palate opens with the strawberry mousse, barley, sweet honey and hints of malt, baked berry fruit, baked bread and more malt. Very full and complex with a touch of mouth-watering citrus and creamy oak. Very long with the malt lingering. That’s a lovely whisky!

Edition Spirits ‘The First Editions’ Ben Nevis 1996 (20 year old) 56.9%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: EDI0210/ Dist: Aug 1996 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Mar 2017

The nose displays and interesting, lightly oxidised apricot and grape character with subtle Amontillado-esque notes. Hints of lemon, bread dough, barley and subtle vanilla follow. Overall the nose is very citric with late elderflower and malt.

The palate is malty and barley’d with hints of earth, straw and deliciously sweet oak. Like the nose there is a subtle Amontillado-like edge and hints of bread and juicy apricot. Long and succulent with a little dryness from the alcohol but lingering elderflower, dried grape, barley and malt.

A drop of water emphaises the lemon and elderflower on the nose. On the palate it makes it a little homogenous and very honeyed. Touch of dusty coffee’d spice on the finish.

Bartles Whisky ‘His Excellency’ Ben Nevis Blend 1970 (44 year old) 44.6%

Dist: 1970 Btl: 2014/ Tasted: April 2015

Dense and fragrant with a lightly floral Cognac-esque rancio. Hints of marzipan, liquid vanilla, aromatic violets, butter and gently oxidised white fruit. A trade mark malty/bready note appears and the vanillins continue to sweeten, however the lovely citrus notes keep the balance. With time a touch of thyme, camphor and rosemary comes through along with citrus scented candle wax and avocado butter.

The palate opens with the buttery vanilla oak, but it’s cut through with a lovely seam of fresh line along with a touch of melon, barley and grass. Very vibrant and energetic with a malt, subtle treacle plus a light Cognac-esque dried fruit and sweet spice – cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander notes. Long and succulent with hints of violet incense and pot pourri along with lavender and rosemary in the finish. Lightly pulped fruit and lightly oiled spice finish, which must last for a good five minutes! Sublime stuff!

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Ben Nevis 1998 (16 year old) 50%

Sherry Butt/ Code: OMC2434/HL10982

Dist: Jun 1998 Btl: Oct 2014/ Tasted: Nov 2014

A very sulphured nose of dried, raisinated fruit with hints of coffee cream, leafy herbs, treacle and earthy spices.

The palate is not as heavily sulphured as the nose, but it’s still there. Hints of treacle and dried fruit mingle with some creamy vanillins. Long and richly fruited with a touch of herbs. 

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Ben Nevis 1998 (16 year old) 50%

Sherry Butt/ Code: OMC2434/HL10982

Dist: Jun 1998 Btl: Oct 2014/ Re-Tasted: July 2015

The nose is a bit industrial and hard with barley, toffee, herbs and a touch of granulated sugar, which isn’t enough to offset the industrial; character unfortunately.

The palate mirrors the nose – hard barley and toffee. There is possibly a little more sweetness, but it’s still not what you would call a pretty malt! A little hot on the finish with a late orange and creamy vanilla flourish. 

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Ben Nevis 1996 (18 year old) 50%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: OMC2380/ HL10503

Dist: May 1996 Btl: May 2014/ Tasted: June 2014

The aromas are dark and malty. Very bready with plenty of baked fruit. Hints of earth, light coffee and dark toffee emerge. With time a perfumed barley and rose water note appears.

The palate is again malty and dark with a touch of treacle toffee and plenty of baked apple. A little spice comes through on the middle. Fairly linear but pleasantly deep with hints of sugar crusted barley on the finish.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Ben Nevis 1996 (19 year old) 50%

Sherry Butt/ Code: OMC2536/ HL12148

Dist: Jun 1996 Btl: Nov 2015/ Tasted: Jan 2016

Dusty, coffee’d and herbal Oloroso aromas with a mature Armagnac-esque rancio. Lovely raisinated fruit, prune, malt and hints of walnut and vanilla.

Full and rich on the palate with dark honey, dried Armagnac-esque fruit with hints of sweet orange peel, walnuts and malt. Gently citric on the middle. Long and coffee’d with lingering sweet dried fruit and treacle. Tastes a lot older than 19.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Ben Nevis 1996 (21 year old) 50%

Refill Bourbon?/ Code: OMC2710/ Dist: May 1996 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Nov 2017

That’s an unusual nose for Ben Nevis as it’s quite perfumed and fragrant with a ‘toshan-like strawberry mousse note. Elegant dusty oak comes through along with hints of malt biscuits. As the nose settles some almost tropical fruit appears. Like I said, quite unusual but very attractive.

The palate is more like Ben Nevis – full and malty! Lovely, dusty, mature oak, apricot and yet more malt follows! Still it’s not a bruiser, in fact it’s pleasantly elegant with a fragrant and juicy middle. Long, malty and robust, but still elegant finish with hints of sherbet lemon. Very entertaining.


Hunter Laing Distillers Art Ben Nevis 1996 (19 year old) 48%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Code: ART0046/ Dist: May 1996 Btl: Jan 2016/ Tasted: Feb 2016

A very fresh, juicy and fruity nose of orange, strawberry and barley. Quite unusual for Ben Nevis. Hints of vanilla oak with time.

The palate is gentle and shows a little more of the toffee’d oak but some crisp citrus and white fruit balance. Lovely malty middle and a long, citrus and barley finish. A little dusty, chocolaty tannin and green fruit in the after taste.


Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Ben Nevis 2011 (6 year old) 46%

Refill Bourbon Barrel/ Code: HEP0244/ Dist: Mar 2011 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: May 2017

Thick, biscuity and malty aromas with fragrant barley and hints of lime, stewed fruit and chunky American oak. With time a rye-like herbal note appears.

The palate displays plenty of sweet barley, honey and malt. It’s a little fresher than the nose with more lime and lemon giving it a lift. Subtle vanilla oak on the middle and a good, fresh finish with lingering barley and bready, biscuity notes.

Hunter Laing Hepburns Choice Ben Nevis 2011 (6 year old) 46%

Refill Bourbon Barrel/ Code: HEP0245/ Dist: Mar 2011 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: May 2017

More citric than HEP0244 with lemon, lime and fleshy apricot. Hints of malt biscuits, dusty barley and rye-like herbs follow. Not as much oak as HEP0244 but possibly more caramel. With time there’s a light musky, floral note.

The palate is again fresh and citric with bubblegummy white fruit and hints of caramel and toffee. Slightly malty and bready on the middle with some subtle oak. Long , gristy and continuing citric with an almost mouth-puckering minerality and fragrant barley after-taste.


Douglas of Drumlanrig Ben Nevis 1996 (12 year old) 46%

Refill Sherry Butt 4827/ Dist: 1996 Btl: 2009/ Tasted: July 2012

Another youthful, cereally marc-like nose with a touch of nascent honey and a hint of orange fruit. However it would appear that the spirit really hasn’t developed much in the way of distinctive character. 

The palate is very much like the nose. Youthful. There is a touch of honey and there is a granity edge to the palate along with some slightly musty, earthy notes but again not much in the way of character.

James MacArthur Old Masters Ben Nevis 1998 (10 year old) 57.9%

Bourbon Cask 172/ Dist 1998 Btl: 2008/ Tasted: Oct 2008

A wonderfully crisp and clean nose. Slightly floral with cereal/ barley and a touch of bread dough. I can’t get over the lovely freshness of the aromas, it reminds me of a salt-free Bruichladdich. Over time it develops a floral/ apple blossom and vanilla note.

Quiet oily and subtle on the palate beginning with the apple blossom and summer flowers before adding a touch of apricot and peach. The middle is quiet bready with the doughy note noticeable from the nose apparent. Good length with a lovely, light spice flecked finish.

With water the nose become even more floral. It emphasises the oils and removes some of its freshness, but it adds a glorious spicy orange note now. On the palate it softens and possibly over sweetens it, giving the fruits a candied sheen. For me I would drink it neat.

James MacArthur Old Masters Ben Nevis 1998 (14 year old) 56.9%

Bourbon cask 1499/ Dist: 1998 Btl: 2012/ Tasted: Nov 2012

A very crisp and granity nose, which is unusual elegant for Ben Nevis. Lightly perfumed white flowers and crunchy barley. A textbook Highland nose! Some rather mature oily/ nutty oak arrives along with a faint earthy-peat note. Wonderfully poised! 

The palate is fuller with more of the toffee’d oak noticeable, which becomes more creamier with time. Hugely citrus and granity on the middle. Quite austere and lacking the usual bready/ doughy/ malty character that you usually find (which is not a criticism – just an observation) and the oak has no chance against all that granity citrus. Quite a dry, alcoholic finish. 

A drop of water doesn’t make much difference to the nose, it’s still fresh and granity, but a lovely perfumed tangerine/ Satsuma note has appeared. Wonderfully juicy now! The palate is softer and juicier now with a citrus jelly character. The oak has retreated leaving the light honeycomb malt exposed along with some nettly herbs. Amazingly light and elegant with a hint of rose petal marc in the finish.