...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Ben Nevis 9 year old 2011 Signatory, cask 142 for SoCal Wine & Spirits

You may look at this whisky's ABV and say, "Diving for Pearls, why are you doing this to yourself again?" I have three answers:

1. Because I love you.
2. Because Wednesday's Ben Nevis needed a sparring partner.
3. Because some old whisky buddies of mine helped pick the cask, and I missed out on a bottle because I live out here in *uckeye country.

And this whisky is 50% older than Wednesday's creature. And Signatory. And it is 7% (or 4.4 alcohol percentage points) lighter. And And And.

Distillery: Ben Nevis
Region: Highlands (Western)
Independent Bottler: Signatory
Age: 9 years old (4 May 2011 to 15 May 2020)
Maturation: bourbon barrel
Cask #: 142
Outturn: 229 bottles
Exclusive to: SoCal Wine & Spirits
Alcohol by Volume: 63.2%
(from a bottle split)


Once again I'm starting with a diluted version because I value my tastebuds, somewhat.

At first, the 50%abv version is all malt and alcohol on the nose, but after a few minutes some anise and savory broth notes appear. Then comes dessert: marshmallows and caramel sauce. It smells quite a bit different at full strength. It's mostly pears, peach skin and lots of flowers, with hints of bread and caramel in the background.

At 50%abv, the palate registers simply, with barley, salt, sugar, tart apples and champagne vinegar. There's more complexity at full strength. Sweet apples meet tart lemon juice; malt merges with a gentle herbal bitterness.

The finish matches the palate at 50%abv, while at cask strength the finish gets a little bit sweeter and maltier.


While this Ben Nevis does come across as a young whisky, it's no stunt release. Its cask plays less violently than Wednesday's, even though it was much smaller, so we're getting a nice close glimpse at a very polite Ben Nevis spirit. I still would've loved to have tried this at twice its age to see if it turned into one of those lovely fruity Nevii I do adore.

Much like the 6yo, this 9yo was much better when neat. All of the high proof baby whiskies I've tried recently have struggled once diluted, which makes them feel even more undercooked. As per my spreadsheet I have only 3 more scotch samples that are over 63%abv. I think I'll get them all out of the way this year.

Availability - Sold out, I think...
Pricing - ???
Rating - 81 (neat only)