...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Ben Nevis 23 year old 1991 Signatory, cask 2914

Beatrice turns three years old today. I thought I knew the The Terrible Twos. I did not know the Terrible Twos. Though her comedic cuddly side emerges from the Destructo-Bot wrath for a moment as if to say, "Don't worry, I'm still in here!" I do wish it we'd see it more. Our duets before bedtime — sometimes we sing What a Wonderful World in a loop, slipping into a trance so the words almost sound believable — are the most fulfilling moments of my day. Each night her voice lifts mine. But being a parent navigating her emotions and those of her older sister, who's struggling even more than her parents in the time of COVID, has been a lot. Just a lot. No one's having as much as they used to.

To honor this experience I am going to drink a lot reviewing five Ben Nevises this week from Signatory's extensive 1991 parcel of BN sherry butts. Three of the reviews are from my own bottles, starting with yesterday's excellent 22 year old. Here's a 23 year old from a bottle split.

 Ben Nevis
Region: Highlands (Western)
Independent Bottler: Signatory Vintage
Range: Cask Strength
Age: 23 years (16 August 1991 to 16 January 2015)
Maturation: sherry butt
Bottles: 571
Cask: 2914
Alcohol by Volume: 56.3%
(from a bottle split)

On the nose there are guava and mango purees, dusty library shelves, citron peels, damp moss, ocean air and a dense funky veg note I've never come across before. The silky mouthfeel gives way to a palate loaded with mangoes and kabosu (tart!), black walnuts and fresh mushrooms, then minerals, citrus and almonds. It finishes with an even bigger mineral note that goes well with the tropical fruits, as well as some soil, mushrooms and black walnuts.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose picks up more farm and dunnage notes, followed by peaches, butterscotch and cinnamon, then almond extract and damp moss. The palate gets fruitier somehow. Plums, melons, limes and peaches. Yet it's not too sweet, as its tartness and saltiness bring balance. The fruit gets tangier in the finish, while hints of cigar smoke and black walnuts appear.

We already entering a whole 'nother plane with these 1991s. I'm doing everything I can to not drop F-bombs to illustrate my enthusiasm for this one. Add water, don't add water, whatever, man. This is a gem. I'm so glad I got to review this on Sweet Bea's birthday!

Availability - Probably sold out
Pricing - somewhere around €200 in 2015
Rating - 91