When we think of Ben Nevis now, most of your minds will likely wonder towards those mineral, fruity releases distilled in 1996. They’re the single casks most responsible for elevating the stature of the distillery in modern whisky times. But that’s not at all what this Ben Nevis 1984 25 Years is.
This is a sherry monster. Distilled in 1984, the liquid initially matured in ex-bourbon casks but was transferred to sherry casks (presumably first-fill) in 1998. That’s more than just a quick finish, that’s true secondary (or double) maturation, split almost equally between the two cask types.
Of course, the only reason I’ve gotten to taste this Ben Nevis 1984 25 Years is thanks to the generosity of others, in this case my buddy Paul. This bottle is one of his prize possessions. And rightfully so. It’s a cliche, but they don’t make ’em like this anymore.
Ben Nevis 1984 25 Years (56.3%, OB, C#98/35/5)
Nose: An old school sherry influence with plenty of umami that is rare these days. Mushrooms, soy sauce and thyme with just a touch of acidity. Also chocolate, mocha and ground coffee beans. Then there are plums, brown sugar, prunes and figs. Very rich and dense. Taste: Thick and mouthcoating. Lovely zesty, citric fruitiness, the Ben Nevis spirit shines despite the obvious intense sherry maturation. Just a whisper of smoke, some pipe tobacco, dates and rose petals, but also lychees, blackcurrants and Demerara sugar. Finish: Soft dryness. Some lingering pepper, subtle acidity and stewed fruits notes. Long.
One of the better single malts I've had the pleasure of tasting this year. This Ben Nevis 1984 25 Years evokes a certain nostalgia that rears its head more often the longer I drink whisky. I mostly try to suppress it, but sometimes it just comes out. A beautiful drop!