...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Ben Nevis 18 year old 2001 Old Particular for K&L Wine Merchants

25% done with the series and what have I learned so far? That Ben Nevis can be weird and it can be overrun by aggressive sherry casks? Nah, I think many of us knew that already. I appreciate that each of the first four whiskies was its own creature, demonstrating that Ben Nevis has the potential to be a chameleon malt. But I'm not sure how I actually feel about that, especially if the quality rarely matches the quirk. Whisky number 5 on this trip is a refill hoggie, so perhaps it'll lean a little closer to Monday's Blackadder.

Distillery: Ben Nevis
Region: Highlands (Western)
Independent Bottler: Douglas Laing
Range: Old Particular
Age: 18 years (2001-2019)
Maturation: refill hogshead
Cask numberDL13264
Exclusive to: K&L Wine Merchants
Alcohol by Volume: 52.8%
(from a bottle split)

The nose begins naked and raw, with barley and heat and sand. Then, gradually, it opens up. Milk Duds, McIntosh apples, plums, flowers, the first dose of BN industrial funk and some quirky savory spices. Malt, hard toffee and plums in the palate, followed by IPA-ish grapefruits (or grapefruit-ish IPAs), mint leaves, fresh ginger and a hint of that funk. A real citrus bomb in the finish, with grapefruits, oranges, lemons, ginger and mint leaf.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, < 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky
Ah, the nose has become much more medicinal while also adding in lemon peel and more maltiness. The palate also gains a medicinal note and citrus zests. Fewer sweets, more minerals. It finishes citric, mineral and malty.

I was hoping to experience The Funk (sans sherry cask!) and The Fruit in the same Ben Nevis at some point during this series, and here it is in the form of an 18yo refill hoggie. Though more complex when neat, the whisky sharpens and focuses nicely once it's diluted. For those folks wondering if Ben Nevis could be a casual drinker, this whisky answers in the affirmative. Crisp stuff. I like it.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - $100
Rating - 88