...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Ben Nevis 26 year old 1991 Signatory, cask 2377 (my bottle)

I'm so used to Ben Nevis's quirky industrial funk notes, that I've been caught off-guard by their near absence in these 16 whiskies. There has been just a little bit of the peated note I often find in BN's single malts, though it has tilted toward the earth and farm part of the spectrum rather than smoke. On the other hand, the sherry casks have been very very fruity and that makes me very very happy. Only one big sherry bomb. And, overall, only one outright turd. I deem this a successful depletion of my whisky deposits.

But I'm also trying to figure out whether this process was exhausting or was it the surrounding non-whisky life that left me fatigued. This sort of whisky journey may work better over one or two crazy nights for some folks. My system can no longer take that level of punishment which is why I do these month-long explorations. Joys and weariness aside, I say you shouldn't expect to see any Ben Nevis reviews here for the next 8-10 months. I have been Ben Nevissed.

To conclude:

Distillery: Ben Nevis
Region: Highlands (Western)
Independent Bottler: Signatory Vintage
Range: Cask Strength
Age: 26 years (5 July 1991 to 30 Nov 2017)
Maturation: sherry butt
Bottles: 599
Cask: 2377
Alcohol by Volume: 57.3%
(from my bottle)

The nose begins with industrial funk and peat smoke (of course it does), followed by peach skins, dried apricots and molasses. The loudest longest notes are those of almonds, lemon peels and ocean water. It gets earthier with time. Once reduced to 46%abv, the whisky shifts to wood smoke, molasses chews, oregano and fresh cut grass. Still some lemon peels and toasted almonds in the background.

The palate takes some time to appear. Once it does it reveals a mix of stones, salt and well-aged calvados. Then lemons, dried apricots and a hint of pastry dough. It gets sweeter and figgier with time. Though I'd expected the palate to open up further with the whisky diluted to 46%abv, it doesn't really do so. It gets drier, more tannic. Bits of dried apples and apricots, limes and roses.

It finishes mildly sweet, earthy and mineral. Apricots, soot and lemonade. More citrus appears once the whisky is diluted to 46%abv, especially on limes. A few roses. Not much else.

This was the austere one of the bunch. It's probably technically sterling, but stirs up little in the way of excitement. I've sipped it twice more since this sitting, and it makes for a great casual drink. Perhaps it would have garnered more raves had it been part of a lesser tasting but, aye, there's the burden in being a Ben Nevis sherry butt. So it goes. Maybe one more pour.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - around €170-180 in late 2018
Rating - 87 (neat)

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