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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Ben Nevis 19 year old 1996 Old Malt Cask, cask 12148

Next up in this month-long Ben Nevis series are a pair of independently bottled 1996 sherry casks. It has been enlightening trying two Nevises side-by-side each time. In this instance, these two casks sit at either end of the sherried Ben Nevis spectrum, from sharp to cuddly.

First off, it's a Hunter Laing release, a sherry butt courtesy of Old Malt Cask.

Distillery: Ben Nevis
Region: Highlands (Western)
Independent Bottler: Hunter Laing
Range: Old Malt Cask
Age: 19 years old (June 1996 to November 2015)
Maturation: sherry butt
Bottles: 572
Cask: HL12148
Alcohol by Volume: 50%
(from a purchased sample)

The nose is loaded with moss and grapefruit. Nutty dry sherry and an old blend's mustiness. Dill and dried leaves. Metallic dust and rust, rather than smoke. The palate is VERY herbal, backed with equal parts cigarette and peat smoke. Limes, toffee and a hint of vanilla bean. A bracing rush of tart and bitter, but in a good way (for those who like the style). The lime and peat notes expand with time. The finish has a significant mineral and metallic edge. Cigarette smoke, light sweetness and a bitter bouquet.

DILUTED TO ~43%abv
A good balance on the nose. Dried leaves, salty ocean air, toffee and raisins. The palate is slightly sweeter, though still has its sharp bitter side. More citrus (lemons and grapefruit), fewer herbs. Maybe some more smoke. Old blend metallic funk. It finishes a little sweeter. Lemons and grapefruit. Moldy dunnage.

Tart, bitter, metal, mineral, herbal, leafy, smoky, moldy, funky. Even when dilution sweetens it up, the whisky doesn't let go of its dirty soul. This Nevis is for specific palates, and proudly so.

Tomorrow, the other side of the mountain.

Availability - A retailer somewhere in Europe, maybe?
Pricing - just north of €100
Rating - 87