bernstein wrote: Strong and oily, almonds, leather, old books, coconuts, sweet fir-honey. This stuff is just perfect for me!
Now – I tried to find some more expressions of this particular distillery to get a more in-depth view of their products. I cracked them open over last couple of days and started a vertical tasting – it’s been a pleasure, I tell you ! Quite a lot of you forumers (Lawrence, NickBrown, hpulley, crieftan, parvus, lbacha et al.) gave voice to favourable reviews of Ben Nevis bottlings (there was a thread on the new OB Port finish just a few weeks ago around here). What should I say, all in all - it made me curious.
This is, what I got so far:
Ben Nevis OB 10yo 46%
Yummy allium and pleasant smoke. Very malty and spicy (see above). A malt that doesn’t look out for compromises - very idiosyncratic. There is a slightly stinging element in it, as characteric as a fingerprint. I couldn’t detect coffee, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. For some time now I’m looking for a a suitable description - and now I think I found it: it's like rhubarb in a glass!
Ben Nevis OB 1992 (bottled 2005) #2614 632 b.13yo 46%
Now this is something special: it reminded very much of Mortlach F6F 16yo or even more of the old Macallan 18yo. Sweet’n strong’n spicy. Indian Curry, it even has this particular characteristical fingerprint (“allium and smoke”), slightly bitter, vegetable-like, however in marvelous harmony with the other portions. A genuine discovery. Very, very yummy!
Ben Nevis OB (1990-2004) Port Finish 800b. 13yo 61,6%
The colour is indeed sensational (or debatable - JM says “Beaujolais”, it rather remembers me of German red wines of the Ahr, but nevermind...). Very tasty and exotic - a real cracker! Will get into this one more deeply over next weeks.
Ben Nevis OB (1973-1999) #355&356 400b. 26yo 50,8%
At the beginning somewhat volatile, transparent and fine. The obvious oak is well integrated, more like an oriental veil, covering but not coating – the pleasures are all there! “Burnt oranges”, this is what NickBrown said about it recently, and this is spot on! There is a certain marvellous medical sharpness in it. Last year I sampled a Glenfarclas 15yo (which I didn’t like particularly). It had some off-putting overtones which seemed to me unbalanced and stinging.
Here I find something quite similar, but this time those overtones fit in perfectly! One week after opening it’s substantially rounder, more of an elegant late-night dram, dusty and dry – but simultaneously sweet as overripe grapes. The cask strength is hardly to be noticed. A dream!
Ben Nevis IB Cadenhead''s 1990-2005 720b. 14yo 46%
Bright gold - after two weeks now a special sweet note steps forward. Gentle smoke and barley. A flowering rose garden – and lots of oranges in the nose, many, very ripe oranges, it tastes like patacones con guacamole (bananas and avocado). And this savoury rhubarb appears here as well.
Ben Nevis IB Cadenhead''s 1990-2004 13yo 46%
Quite similar to the 14yo. Is it possible that this is even more fruity? Delicious.
Ben Nevis IB Murray McDavid 1999-2005 Bourbon/Port 6yo 46%
What a surprise – despite its young age, it’s fully developed, balanced, deliciously sweet and tasty. A marvellous (and relatively inexpensive) malt.
What are your experiences with Ben Nevis? Any corrections or similar experiences? Broad my partial view, please! I'm looking forward to your views!