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Monday, October 5, 2020

Ben Nevis 22 year old 1991 Signatory, cask 2382 (my bottle)

I am reviewing FIVE Ben Nevises this week, five very specific Ben Nevii. I'll explain why tomorrow. Let's just get this started.

You've clearly heard enough about the 1996 vintage. How about Signatory's 1991 goldmine? I'm going to review 22yo, 23yo, 24yo, 25yo and 26yo sherry butts from that parcel, three of which are from my own bottles, including today's 22.

Distillery: Ben Nevis
Region: Highlands (Western)
Independent Bottler: Signatory Vintage
Range: Cask Strength
Age: 22 years (5 July 1991 to 2 July 2014, three days short of 23 years)
Maturation: sherry butt
Bottles: 633
Cask: 2382
Alcohol by Volume: 58.3%
(from my bottle)

The nose changes with every sniff. Nuts, then tar, then dried berries, then moss, then honey and roses. Hints of marzipan and cherry juice appear frequently. After 30 minutes it takes a cool funky turn, reading like a combination of dates, toffee and a super dusty (pre-war?) scotch. When the whisky is diluted to 46%abv, the nose shifts to orange peels, lemon peels, smoked dates (if that's a thing), old newspapers and dunnage.

The palate is full of citrus and salt, figs and manure, dark chocolate and dried raspberries. It gets very sooty and earthy with time, without ever losing the citrus and figs. When the whisky is diluted to 46%abv, it gains the neat nose's dusty whisky funk, full of musty basements and dunnages. It's also very tangy, loaded with pepper oils and tart oranges.

It finishes with loads of citrus and a vibrant tartness. The figs and salt hang on, as does a hint of dark chocolate. It gets earthier and bitterer with time. When the whisky is diluted to 46%abv, the finish mirrors the palate, making it feel like something that's been sitting in a bottle for the better part of a century.

Two elements elevate this whisky.

1. I'm a sucker for whiskies with either citrus or fig notes, this one has gorgeous combination of both.
2. This whisky has an old fusty musty dusty note that I've experienced in a few other Ben Nevises. I can't explain it — something to do with the Brewer's Yeast, perhaps? — but goodness, I love it.

A great start!

Availability - I bought this bottle at Edradour distillery in 2016, so it's probably sold out
Pricing - around $140 at the time
Rating - 90

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