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Friday, September 11, 2020

Ben Nevis 8 year old 2009 Single Cask Nation, cask 92

Here's an actual eight year old Ben Nevis, as opposed to Wednesday's 8 year old Nevis-loaded blended malt. This single first-fill sherry cask from the fellows at Single Cask Nation weighs in at 64.8%abv. SCN has bottled several 20+ year old Ben Nevises recently, so it seems like a cool idea to broaden their selection with a baby Ben. But still, that ABV.

Distillery: Ben Nevis
Region: Highlands (Western)
Independent Bottler: Single Cask Nation
Age: 8 years old (Jan 2009 to Jan 2017)
Maturation: first-fill Oloroso sherry butt
Cask #: 92
Outturn: 633 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 64.8%
(from a bottle split)

Indeed it's big, but it's approachable. The nose shows cornbread, caramel and flowers first. Then a whiff of eggs (sulfur) that quickly shifts to gunpowder. Then there's raspberry jam, raspberry fruit leather, burnt prunes and walnuts in butter. The palate's not too hot, but it's a bit tight and almost entirely cask driven. Cocoa and black raisins. Lots of sweetness. Hint of ginger candy. The finish is creamier and nuttier than the palate.

DILUTED TO ~50%abv, or 1¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose becomes more expressive: prunes, carob, walnuts, honey, almond butter and something earthy. The sulfur note remains. There's a nice combo of spices and baked pears on the palate, followed by bits of earth, bitterness, pepper and sweet citrus. It finishes very sweetly, with peppercorns and wood spice around the edges.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 2½ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The sulfur is almost gone from the nose, but it's all oak at this point. Maybe some almond butter too. The palate begins to blur. Savory and sweet. Pepper and tart limes. The finish matches the palate.

Despite the whisky's age, there's very little distillery character on display because the cask influence is so massive. On a positive note, the nose's sulfur never slips into the palate at any point, so this Ben Nevis will appeal to folks just looking for a feisty sherried thing. Perhaps some additional water experiments may produce better results, say at 57%abv or 43%, but I couldn't find a spot where it topped the Glencoe 8yo. Of course, if you search the internet you'll find my opinion to be in the minority.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - $90
Rating - 80