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Friday, January 25, 2019

Ben Nevis 26 year old 1986 The Nectar of the Daily Drams

This might be the earliest and oldest Ben Nevis I've tried, so I'd love to know more about. But, for a independent bottler frequented by whisky geeks, The Nectar of the Daily Drams provides less information about its whiskies than does Diageo. This bottler lists the bare minimum of age information, no cask type, no cask number, no cask outturn and I'm not even sure if the words "single cask" appear on the bottle.

I had this same issue when trying to get more details about their 1996 Ben Nevis I reviewed last January. We're long past the days wherein the absence of this information could be an oversight. If anyone knows more about this whisky, or why the bottler is mum on so much, please feel free to share in the comments section below. Thanks!

Distillery: Ben Nevis
Region: Highlands (Western)
Independent Bottler: The Nectar
Series: Daily Drams
Age: 26 years old (1986-2012)
Maturation: ex-bourbon cask(s?)
Alcohol by Volume: 51.8%
(from a purchased sample)

Vanilla almond cookies with mango juice, on the nose. Vanilla bean, cream soda, nutmeg, limes and brine follow. A surprising amount of heat on the palate, considering the age and moderate strength. In fact it reads like a whisky one-third of its age. Tart, peppery and mineral, with limes, lemons and a little bit of malt. It's very simple and very sweet. The salty malty finish has the palate's citrus fruits and more sugar. And that's about it.

DILUTED TO ~43%, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose flattens out. There's vanilla, orange peel, guava and cardboard. More cardboard in the palate, along with cracked pepper and woody bitterness. Short moments of vanilla, almond and orange appear from time to time. The finish is all vanilla, woody bitterness and lime zest.

Despite this whisky's age and bottling strength, it got trounced by Wednesday's Ben Nevis. This 26yo comes across like an ultra-modern whisky with a lot of vanilla in the nose, but very little maturation in the palate. Perhaps it was re-racked from a dead cask to an active one? Because it falls apart upon diluted, I recommend just drinking it neatly. It'll be familiar but unimpressive.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - €100+
Rating - 81 (neat only)

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