Ben Nevis 22yo, 1995-2018, Whic, Nymphs of Whisky Collection
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: whic (Whiskycircle)
Cask type: Sherry Butt (#1510, 472 btl.)
Colour: Dark amber.
Nose: There's immediately sherry on the nose, mixed with rum-soaked dark fruits. Then more and more fruitiness with red berries - especially red currants - comes through. Fruity and sour with creamy vanilla in the back. Over time, notes of leather, tobacco and a hint of walnut, typical of old sherry cask matured whisky, arrive. The alcohol tickles slightly but pleasantly in the nose.
Palate: Full-bodied and voluminous on the palate. Rich with sherry, fruity red berries and a pleasant fruit acid. Clearly warm due to the alcohol, but also due to white pepper and some oak. Becomes velvety with creamy vanilla, red fruit jelly and sticky fruit jam.
Finish: The finish is beautifully long with creamy red fruit, slightly dry oak, bitter dark chocolate and fine notes of tobacco, surrounded by light fruit acid.
With water: Lots of red fruits on the nose when a few drops of water are added. Creamy vanilla, ripe banana, fruit acid and a whiff of tobacco in the back. Vibrant on the palate. Prickling with red fruits and a fairly spicy kick of black pepper, oak and nutmeg. Red berries linger towards a dry finish. The finish is a bit shorter with creamy fruit jam, vanilla and dry notes of tobacco leaves and oak on the tail.
Comments: I was pleasantly surprised by this bottling. I would have expected dark fruit notes, chocolate, walnuts, solid oak and the like when maturing for 22 years in a sherry butt. But this Ben Nevis impresses with its extreme fruitiness of red berries and refreshing fruit acid which interact fairly nicely with warming spices and some tobacco notes. It looks very fresh and yet it brings the elegance and complexity of an old whisky. Chapeau to the Whic team. Here they have proved a lucky hand in the selection of casks.
I thank Leonie and Arne from whic (Whiskycircle) for the complimentary sample and the image!
Ben Nevis 6yo, 2011-2017, Hepburn's Choice
Price per bottle: °
Bottling: Langside Distillers
Cask type: Refill Barrel (359 btl.)
Nose: Fresh and fruity on the nose with green apples, orange peel and a touch of lemon. Vanilla and toffee arrive, nicely mixed with malted barley and a whiff of cinnamon. Subtle oak linger with a hint of tobacco leaves in the back.
Palate: A pleasant sweetness on the palate with malted barley, honey, toffee and apples. Then a warming spiciness emerges with white pepper, crisp oak and a touch of cinnamon. Subtle notes of roasted bread towards the finish.
Finish: The finish shows medium length with creamy caramel and fruit jam. Becomes slightly dry on the tail with oak and white pepper, nicely mixed with a touch of lemon and orange peel.
With water: Very refreshing with a few drops of water. Sweet and fruity with lots of green apples and vanilla. The spiciness, however, is completely tamed. Very restrained at first on the palate with a touch of fruitiness and malty flavours. Then slightly warm with oak spice, tender pepper and cinnamon. Notes of caramel towards the finish. The finish is medium long, less sweet but significantly dry with oak, orange peel and hints of tobacco leaves.
Comments: This is solid, refreshing, and quaffable whisky with waves of rich flavours. Nice balance of green fruits, malty sweetness and oaky spiciness. A very clean Ben Nevis - pleasantly enjoyable with a nice texture. I preferred it neat. The recommendation on myDrams's tasting notes card is to pair this young Highlander with suhi - worth a try!
I thank myDrams for the sample and the photograph!
Ben Nevis 19yo, 1997-2016, Fairy Tales - Special Edition
Price per bottle: °°°
Bottling: eSpirits Whisky for Liquid Treasures
Cask type: Bourbon Hogshead
Nose: The nose starts off with lingering vanilla, yellow fruits - mirabelle, gooseberry and subtle lemon. Waxy with a hint of oak and slightly bitter orange peel in the back. The alcohol is well integrated.
Palate: Bold and intense on the palate with vanilla, biscuits and a slightly sweet fruitiness of mirabelle and quince. Pleasantly warming with oak spice, pepper, aniseed and subtle cloves. Creamy and oily.
Finish: The finish is medium long, creamy and subtle sweet but becomes dry with time. Tender bitter lemon peel with oaky tones and a hint of black pepper on the tail.
With water: Water tames the vanilla sweetness and yellow fruitiness, bringing more prickling oak to the fore. The same on the palate. Less sweetness and fruity flavours while spices and prickling oak dominate. The finish shows medium length with slightly prickling spices, dry oak and bitter lemon peel on the tail.
Comments: Tasty stuff. A good balance between vanilla sweetness, fruit and oak. Lacks some complexity but an accessible and easily drinkable whisky with nice maturity. I preferred it neat.
I thank Dailydram.de for the sample and the photograph!
Ben Nevis 23yo, 1991-2015, The Un-Chillfiltered Collection
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Signatory Vintage
Cask type: Sherry Butt (#2916)
Nose: Cereal notes and barley sugar sweetness rise, followed by a touch of grassy flavours. Citric fruits arrive with lemon cream, vanilla, golden syrup, subtle raisins and a whiff of fennel in the back.
Palate: Ah, here they are, the sherry cask driven flavours! Dark chocolate with subtle raisins and a whiff of tobacco leaves mingle with spiced oak, cinnamon and pepper on the palate. Very dry and warming with a touch of cinnamon and lingering notes of baked red apples towards the finish.
Finish: The finish is long and sweet with barley sugar, honey, dried raisins, subtle cinnamon and a touch of spiced oak on the tail.
With water: Fresh and lively on the nose with a few drops of water. Lots of lemon cream, slightly bitter lemon zest and a whiff of oak in the back. Significantly sweeter on the palate with more yellow fruit, followed by notes of lemon sorbet. Very dry, almost astringent with crisp oak and tannins. The finish is medium long, and slightly warm with a subtle sweetness of barley sugar and honey, followed by lingering lemon cream on the tail.
Comments: Round, soft and creamy - a well-balanced dram. Sherry signs it but not in an assertive way. Surprisingly fresh and lively with a lovely citric character. Although 23 years old, it is somewhat lacking in complexity. To be enjoyed neat as this dram is getting very very dry with a splash of water.
I thank Kirsch Whisky Import for the sample and the photograph!
Ben Nevis 18yo, 1996-2015
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: WHIC - Whiskycircle
Cask type: Ex-Bourbon Hogshead (126 btl.)
Colour: "Greenish" gold.
Nose: Delicate fruity aromas of apricot, mirabelle and a touch of orange and quince on the nose. Slightly floral with lovely vanilla notes and tender citrus. The alcohol is present but not pungent at all, with a whiff of spiced oak in the back..
Palate: Bold and rich with a wonderful sweetness of ripe yellow fruit - apricots, peaches, and vanilla cream. This is immediately followed by an intense and warming spiciness of cracked black pepper, tender nutmeg and spiced oak. Gets drier in the end.
Finish: The finish is medium long and mouth-coating. Sweet and sticky apricot marmalade nicely mingles with a wee touch of honey and slightly bitter orange peel in the back. Dry and lingering oak spice on the tail.
With water: There's more vanilla coming through with water, taming a bit of the fruitiness. Creamy notes of toffee arrive with a touch of citrus in the back. Sweet and very creamy on the palate with apricots, toffee and warming spices - pepper, oak and tender nutneg. Lingering notes of white coffee and acacia honey in the back. The finish is medium long, creamy, honey-sweet with a slightly warming mix of delicate spices.
Comments: A very delicate and lovely creamy malt. Very well balanced. Not the usual big, oily Ben Nevis character but an enjoyable fruitiness and pleasant vanilla sweetness keeps this dram perfectly balanced with the warming spiciness of the oak. Slightly spirituous at first, but give it time and it softens up quite nicely.
I thank Arne Wesche from Whic.de for sample and photograph!
Ben Nevis 16yo, 1997-2013, Release 3, The Rare Casks, Abbey Whisky
Price per bottle: °°
Bottling: Abbey Whisky
Cask type: Sherry hogshead (92 btl.)
Colour: Dark amber.
Nose: Starts earthy with damp wood and big sherry aroma. Burnt match, followed by plenty of stewed ripe fruits. Some oak spice plus cinnamon.
Palate: Quite intense sherry tones. Big crimson sweet cherries covered with dark chocolate (you know these mon chéri pralines), fruit compote, followed by bitter chocolate and spicy oak are the result of an oily and rich palate.
Finish: Long, warm and sweet with liquorice. Fruity and damp earthy tones. Gets dry with oak spice.
With water: Oh yes, increased vibrancy! Water tames the alcohol with more chocolate coated cherries coming through and lingering fruity sweetness.
Comments: A very well balanced whisky. Needs air to develop its full potpourri of flavours. Rich and fruity with pleasant elegance.