Ben Nevis 1996 18 Years Old (The Whisky Agency)
It used to be that just really couldn’t appreciate Ben Nevis, while many others were raving about it. Really, that metallic/sour sort of dirty edge wasn’t for me. Only a few Ben Nevis I really liked. But then something strange started happening. Either I became more immune for Ben Nevis’ dirtiness, or more and more casks were released that highlighted the exceptional Ben Nevis fruitiness — or maybe a combination of the two.
Now, this release is from 2015, when Ben Nevis was still far removed from my nice list, and appeared more often on my naughty list. It is however from 1996, a vintage of which we’ve seen many releases the last twelve months, most of them rather excellent.
Ben Nevis 1996 18 Years Old (52.7%, The Whisky Agency, 276 bts.)
Nose: Fresh with green grapes, granny smith apples, lemon peel and hints of oranges and peaches. Wonderful fruity DNA. A whiff of vanilla custard also, accompanied by honey. Great mix of sweet, fresh and sour.
Taste: Pink grapefruit and tangerines with soft tannins, a whiff of cardboard and a pinch of pepper. A touch of vanilla pods too. Superbly fruity with a great balance.
Finish: Lingering spices and a fresh sweetness.
There’s a lot to love here. It doesn’t have the signature Ben Nevis dirtiness, which to me is always a big plus. What remains is a top notch single malt from a cult distillery.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.