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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Ben Nevis 23 year old 1991 Signatory UCF Collection, cask 2916

This week's final Ben Nevises are from a pair of Signatory single casks that cradled spirit born in 1991. Tomorrow's will be from Signatory's Cask Strength Collection. Today's BN is from Signatory's Un-Chillfiltered Collection, those skinny bottles with the white labels that instantly won me over during a more impressionable phase of my whisky life. It's still a very reliable range, with a solid presentation (46%abv, no chill filtration, no colorant added) and a limited amount of carpentry involved in the maturation of the final products.

Distillery: Ben Nevis
Region: Highlands (Western)
Independent Bottler: Signatory Vintage
Range: Un-Chillfiltered Collection
Age: 23 years (August 16, 1991 to May 7, 2015)
Maturation: sherry butt
Cask: 2916
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
(from a purchased sample)

Its color is a surprisingly light amber. There's so much barley in the nose, all up front, flashing its stuff. Then iodine and gentle smoke. Peaches, orange candy and cantaloupe. Just a hint of mezcal in the background. The palate is also big on barley. Somewhat bready. Black grease and dunnage; more Clynelish-ish than Springbank-ish. A little bit of peach candy and lemon juice. More bitterness than sweetness, arriving often as bitter smoke. After 20 minutes in the glass, it picks up some nutty sherry and hay. The finish has a medium length, full of barley and lemons. A splash of herbal liqueur. Small notes of industrial chimney, plastic and hay.

Pretty solid dirty Highlands stuff. Sometimes it's quite youthful. There was a lightness to it that kept me from adding water. And there's zero heat at 46%abv, making it an easy sipper if suits your style. Not a whole lot to complain about, but I find myself in no rush to hunt down a bottle. Maybe I've started to set my Ben Nevis expectations even higher now. Or maybe I made the mistake of tasting this whisky next to cask 3833...

 - A few retailers in continental Europe, maybe
Pricing - around €100
Rating - 85

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