After a brief intermission for a trip to Good Spirits I am back on the Advent articles. The 13th day brings a very well aged single malt. This time it is from Ben Nevis which is a distillery I have only tried one bottle of and never owned one. The Ben Nevis 10 Year Old is the standard official bottle. I tried it at the National Whisky Festival a few years back. A poor festival and a poor brand ambassador left us leaving feel like a day had been wasted. I was allowed to taste the 10 year old but my partner was told that it wasn’t suitable for the female palate whatever that means. Well actually I do know what it means, it means the industry has a long way to go to stamp out the casual sexism which plagues it still.
Anyway what about this non sexist version of Ben Nevis is it actually any good?
The Ben Nevis 23 year old is one of 558 bottles all of which are bottled at 48% ABV and cost £170 with some change. A normal sized bottled would be £238 to save you the maths which makes it a special occassion whisky. The usual stats apply with natural colour and a lack of aggressive filtering. All of which you would hope for having spent this kind of money. Imagine handing over this kind of money and spending this kind of time maturing the whisky until its well into its teens to then filter the hell out of it. Which in turns leaves a lot of components (flavour/texture) in the bin. Madness.
Colour – Gold
Nose – grapefruits and caramel sauce. There a vegetation note which is a touch prickly or spicy like a nettle. Spearmint leaves and tinned fruit from the school canteen.
Palate – thick and syrup texture. Really luxurious and viscous with more caramel and thick cream. There is a subtle mellow oak spice running through all of those notes mentioned.
Finish – Where the palate was mellow the finish is explosive with bitter grapefruit and citrus rinds and drying with it. The long finish is extensive very much like where you have a boiled sweet and you are left with that drying fruit-esque note.
The last few reviews have been quite negative and I have been a little disappointed with a few of the releases. This though changes all that and is a definitely favourite of the month so far. Of course there is the question of money which will stop me actually buying a bottle.