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Monday, September 28, 2020

Ben Nevis 20 year old 1997 Exclusive Malts, cask 38

The second half of this series starts with one of my own bottles. The tasting sample was pulled from below the bottle's halfway point, so yes I already know how this story's going to end. With smiles, damn it! Whoops, I mean SPOILER ALERT.

Distillery: Ben Nevis
Region: Highlands (Western)
Independent Bottler: Creative Whisky Company
Range: The Exclusive Malts
Age: 20 years old (24 Jan 1997 to 2017)
Maturation: refill sherry hogshead
Cask #: 38
Outturn: 242 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 51.9%
(from my bottle)

BIG sherry on the nose. Can't imagine what this hoggie's first fill whisky was like. There are smoked almonds, Heath Bars, walnuts, brine, orange oil and hints of anise and mint. There's also a musty old cask note that peeks out from time to time. The palate is salty and earthy with plenty of dark chocolate, but that's balanced with lemons, golden raisins, guava juice and spicy cigars. It finishes with tart limes, peach skins, earth and baking spices.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or ¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Not much change (which is good!) on the nose. It's slightly fruitier and maltier with mellower sherry. The palate has become earthier with forest floor notes. Dunnage floor, too? A bright orange note floats above. It finishes with soil, smoke and oranges.

After a string of decent but unexciting bottles of my own, it was such a pleasure to finally open an excellent whisky. As mentioned in the notes, this is one of those refill casks that reads like a vibrant first fill, yet there are no plain pruney notes nor black raisins. The dark and light characteristics are precisely balanced on the palate, while the nose shines at every moment. In addition to all those words, I'd just like to add that this whisky is very tasty. The end. 😊

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - around $125 back in 2017
Rating - 90

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