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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Ben Nevis 21 year old 1996 Whisky Doris, cask 2028

Whisky Doris is batting 1.000 for me. I mean I've had only four of their bottlings but each was a gem. That's why I figuratively jumped for joy when I saw a retailer slinging a single sherry cask Ben Nevis from the W.D. And it wasn't one of their unfortunate nudie labels, but rather the classic monochrome style. But between the time I clicked on Add to Cart and the fraction-of-a-second that it should have hit my cart ...... it sold out. That felt like some Ticketmaster bullshit right there.

Anyway, I got in on a bottle split less than a year later. Yippee!

Distillery: Ben Nevis
Region: Highlands (Western)
Independent Bottler: Whisky Doris
Age: 21 years old (November 1996 to April 2018)
Maturation: refill sherry butt
Cask #: 2028
Outturn: 299 bottles (possibly a cask split)
Alcohol by Volume: 52.2%
(from a bottle split)

The nose balances walnuts, cherry juice, wasabi, old books, dunnage and dirty hay with hints of peat smoke, plum wine and milk chocolate remarkably. The palate shows nuts and salt in the middle, stone fruits and mossy smoke around the edges. Then dark chocolate, bitter herbs, Thai chiles and toasted almonds ease in with time. It finishes with walnuts, almonds, moss, salt and a hint of the nose's cherry juice.

DILUTED TO ~46%abv, or ¾ tsp of water per 30mL whisky
The nose becomes funkier, peatier, farmier, but also picks up some pecans, apricots and lychee. The palate is now super nutty: think almonds, cashews and pecans. There's also some ginger, apple skins, lemon juice, salt and pepper oil. The finish matches the palate, but a with little more farm.

The nose is perfect. I don't know how this is done, and sometimes it seems like this capability escapes most bottlers. One can assume proper cask management has something to do with it. Add in some dumb luck, great storage and someone with a good nose. The palate is very good too, but that nose though. This is one of the rare samples I missed once it was gone. Whisky Doris is 5 for 5.

Availability - Possibly available on the European continent
Pricing - it was around €175
Rating - 90