There was a time when the folk around Fort William in the West Highlands of Scotland would drink anything but their local whisky; such was the reputation of Ben Nevis for doubtful quality. However, in recent years, under the stewardship of distillery manager Colin Ross, the brand has undergone a deserved rehabilitation as the standard of both single malts and blends offered under the Ben Nevis name has improved dramatically.
In addition to the standard 10-year-old single malt expression, Ross has presided over the release of a number of limited, casks strength variants, notably 19, 25 and 26 year-olds, not to mention a 40-years-old Dew of Ben Nevis 'Blended at Birth' blended whisky expression.
The latter was distilled during 1962 in the distillery's pot stills and in a Coffey still, installed by owner Joseph Hobbs, who then filled a blend of the new-make grain and malt spirit directly into casks for maturation. Colin Ross promises that a single cask release from the same unique parcel of whisky will be available in the near future.
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|Ben Nevis, 25-Year-Old (Scotland)|
Meanwhile, July's 'Whisky of the Month' is a 25-year-old Ben Nevis single malt. The whisky included in this cask strength, single cask bottling was distilled in December 1984, filled into freshly-dumped ex-Bourbon barrels, and then vatted into ex-sherry butts in October 1998. 628 bottles from cask 98/35/1 were released in January of this year.
The nose offers smoky Sherry, printerís ink, cocoa, maraschino cherries and ultimately a hint of desiccated coconut. Full-bodied and fleshy on the palate, with plums and prunes. Steadily drying with a hint of smoke. Lingering in the finish, with dry Sherry, fruity oak and a tang of liquorice.
56.0% ABV, 70cl, £80.00, specialist whisky merchants.