First, I am a fan of full disclosure – so before writing further I must thank ImpEx Beverages for being kind enough to send me a sample of this Ben Nevis.
From the expressions that I have tried, Signatory’s Cask Strength Collection has been very solid. Their Dallas Dhu was fantastic, the Monnochmore similarly so, and the Brora…well I don’t even want to discuss it because it hurts too much knowing that I can’t afford that bottle.
Ben Nevis is located in the Highlands and is one of Scotland’s oldest licensed distilleries – established in 1825. It was also one of the first distilleries to install a Coffey still and produce a grain whisky along with a malt whisky. The distillery was subsequently purchased by Japan’s Nikka Whisky in 1989. Ben Nevis firmly holds on to traditional methods of whisky making – I am guessing it might have to do with the owner Nikka Whisky also being a very “traditional” whisky producer. Ben Nevis malts are generally strong handed and powerful. I have only had independent bottlings of Ben Nevis. So how did this indy Ben Nevis do?
Color: Light shimmering gold
Nose: Intense, full alcohol and a strong sherry presence – quite attention getting, honey, dutch apple pie, hints of toasted almonds, buttery, green apples, fresh, cinnamon and spices, slightly dusty – in sum a beautiful nose.
Palate: Immediate alcohol up front, then an onslaught of dark and tasty spices, middle tongue heat that livens things up, malty, charred oak, sherry sweetness – by no means over powering, slightly drying, some sulfur notes – but not too overt or distracting, apples, a nice nuttiness.
Finish: Medium long, dark spices, nuts and some sulfur notes still stick around
Comments: A big powerful spicy fellow as expected from the Cask Strength Collection as well as from Ben Nevis. It did not disappoint but I was left wanting a little more complexity in the palate to match up with that wonderful nose. – Chris