Have I mentioned, my dear whisky friend, in my reviews that I am a big fan of Ben Nevis?
If not, then let me do it now. I am a big fan of Ben Nevis! And if you have not tried their whisky, now is a great time to do so and see what I’m talking about.
His week, I tried and very much enjoyed a 17-year-old Ben Nevis, bottled at 48% strength, under the Dun Bheagan series. They only released 333 bottles of this exceptional dram in a Madeira finish and, trust me, this is a real gem!
Before I step into the world of intertwining flavors, let me first say a few words about Ben Nevis. Ben Nevis is the highest peak in Scotland (1.345m). The Ben Nevis Distillery was founded in 1825, and has been thru several severe production interruptions over the course of its existence. Since 1989 it has been owned by the Japanese Nikka Corporation, which gave the distillery a stable production output from 1990 onwards. Ben Nevis has always stood for a very independent distillery character and is very popular with independent bottlers.
Now, to the whisky at hand! On the nose I get currants, peach and a fresh citrus. Then come bee wax and woody notes. If you leave it for a few minutes to breathe in, it develops a subtle wine undernote. On the palate you first get the typical Ben Nevis taste, slightly waxy, very full. Then a carbon note, probably due to the strong burn of the barrel, then darker syrup-like sweetness and forest fruits. The Madeira is gaining momentum, and just like the tannins do – gives you a strong, dry feeling on the mouth. The whole experience is intense and to the point. On the finish we have the tannins and the carbon dominate, which leads the inexperienced taster to the feeling of ‘smoky’ but this is far more complex than that. The wine is present at all time and gives this a spectacularly well rounded finish.
My conclusion: Strong but not overwhelming, a well rounded finish, and the typical Ben Nevis taste. This is a whisky for connoisseurs as well as beginners, a real gem. You can’ really just have one sip of this whisky, at least I couldn’t resist and had to have a second one!
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