ABV: 57.1% Distillery: Ben Nevis Bottler: Scotch Malt Whisky Society Region: Highlands
Time for some sherry influence, and this 19 year old Ben Nevis is has a name which implies a whole lot of sherry. Filled in December 1997 this has spent its entire life maturing in an refill oloroso sherry butt. Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits profile.
Nose: Immediate sherry influence, but soft, sugary and very well-balanced. All the things you’d expect – raisins, sultanas, chocolate and a barrel-load of coffee beans are lifted with fresh red berries and sugary orange peels. Water brings out some tobacco aromas as well as expressing the orange note further. Very inviting.
Taste: Juicy and highly drinkable at 57.1% ABV. Really big fresh berries and fine sugars are joined by rich chocolate cake, coffee grounds, walnuts and dusty spices. A fine chocolate gateaux indeed. The addition of water softens things up further, but does add some additional oak astringency.
Finish: Long and offering sweet fruits, with a slightly chalky and dusty final sensation.
A very well-balanced Ben Nevis from an excellent butt. Rich and sweet, but showing just the right amount of restraint in terms of both sherry and cask influence. Sherry bomb fans often seek out 1st fills, but I’m of the mind that a good refill oft-times trumps these in terms of sophistication and overall poise. This is one such example. Highly recommended.
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