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Friday, September 10, 2021

Ben Nevis 32 year old 1971 Blackadder, cask 1626

Anniversary Week turned out a little wonky, so I've switched out today's planned pour for something that will either be weird or wonderful — frankly, I'll be happy with weird at this point — or both: a '71 Ben Nevis. I chose a diluted 26yo Ben Nevis as its sparring partner because I'm living large, y'all. Here it goes...

Distillery: Ben Nevis
Region: Highlands (Western)
Independent Bottler: Blackadder
Age: 32 years old (23 March 1971 - September 2003)
Maturation: oak hogshead
Cask #: 1626
Outturn: 296 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 45%
(sample from a bottle split)


Ah, good news. The whisky got its Weird on, right at the start. The nose has its saline, toasted seaweed, elephant dung side. But it also has its malty, Yoo-hoo, raisin bran side. Fresh cut fennel and apricot jam keep their distance in the background.

The palate is a bit odd, but also rather flat. Worcestershire sauce, prunes and black pepper start things off. Some armagnac eau de vie, bitter chocolate and rubber move forward. Bananas and pumpernickel sit in the middle. At the 45 minute mark it shifts to a one-note bitterness.

It finishes with bitter chocolate. black pepper, rubber, sea salt and red grapes, with just a hint of cabbage in the back.


It was indeed a little weird. But. None of the nose's interesting aspects carried into the palate. I'm not sure if this was a tired ex-sherry hoggie, or it was too aggressively diluted by bottler, but I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for the whisky to shift gears, and when it finally did that gear turned out only to be a generic oaky bitterness. I could have also done without the whole salty rubber thing. Ultimately this resulted in the consumption of more of the 26yo competitor. Oh well, it's time to switch back to the Highland Park cluster!

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - ????
Rating - 81 (the nose kept this score up)


  1. You have more generous comments for this one than I did. I had a hard time with it and could not get away from the wet cardboard profile that I tend to find in older malts. Reminded me of the blends from that era, perhaps it's the tired sherry you mentioned that creates that strange taste.

    1. Ugh, I can't stand the wet cardboard characteristic either. Had I found it in this whisky, my comments would have been less charitable. I do think it's a too-many-years-in-tired-casks thing.