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Signatory Cask Strength Collection 1992 Ben Nevis

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?

Distilled in 1992, Aged 18 years in Sherry
Bottled at 56.4% ABV

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

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Part V of the Rosebank Tasting: Signatory Cask Strength Collection 1990

Well I figured I better get this last post of my Rosebank tasting in before I ventured into other whiskies.  Please excuse the long delay in posting this from Part IV.  I was really looking forward to tasting this expression as I have enjoyed almost every Signatory Cask Strength Collection that I have had – including Highland Park, Dallas Dhu, Brora and Monnochmore.

Distilled June 22, 1990
Bottled February 20, 2006
Cask 1509
Bottle 178/285
56.6% ABV

Color – Light Straw

Nose – Very subdued for 56.6%, doughy, baked goods sweetness, malty, pears, “springy”

Palate – Big malt, sweet, alcohol up front, some oak is in there but not much else, didn’t take on as much flavor as I expected, a dead cask?

Finish – Alcohol, oak, total lack in depth of flavor.

Man, was this a disappointment. There really wasn’t much to this at all. I had really high hopes for this Rosebank but it utterly failed. I have heard that can happen sometimes with Rosebanks. Time to go dig out another Signatory Cask Strength Collection bottle to make up for this……….

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1976 Old Malt Cask 28 Y/O Dallas Dhu Review

Unfortunately for my wallet, I have a strong affinity for distilleries that are no longer open.  Rosebank, Brora, Port Ellen and of course Dallas Dhu.  I have a lot to thank Dallas Dhu for.  The first Dallas Dhu that I was introduced to was the magnificent Signatory Cask Strength Collection expression.  This was when I was first starting to explore single malt whisky.  At the time I was all about Talisker and its signature pepper and smoke as well as the Islay’s.  In my uneducated and stubborn opinion (according to my wife this hasn’t changed much) everything else was uninteresting and boring.

This was until Roger, who I like to think of as my whisky teacher during my formative years, pulled the above referenced Dallas Dhu out of this cabinet.  I know around the whisky blogosphere it is common to find long descriptive tasting notes, but I can sum up that dram up with one word: WOW! And maybe with a little: What the hell was that?  I had no idea that whiskies not from Islay or the Islands could have so much flavor.  I was forced to re-evaluate my position.  So to Dallas Dhu – and Roger – thank you for setting me free from the bondage’s of peat, smoke, pepper and other coastal flavors so that I can enjoy and appreciate what the rest of the world of whisky has to offer.

So this brings me to the expression on hand:  Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Dallas Dhu.

Old Malt Cask Dallas Dhu

Old Malt Cask Dallas Dhu

Distilled in 1976 and bottled in 2005 at 50% ABV

Color – Medium straw

Nose – Apples, lemon, definite alcohol singe, cinnamon, cherry pie

Palate –  Surprisingly sweet, oak, spices, full bodied, malty, very different than the nose – loses a lot of the fruit, hides the alcohol well, hint of smoke on the tale

Finish – long, tongue numbing on those spice and smoke notes.

This did not disappoint, very satisfying.  The sweetness balanced well with the hints of smoke and spices.  Too bad it costs so much!

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