Age: 18 years old
Extra Info: Bottled by Alambic Classique, Special Vintage Selection, one of 171 bottles
This bottling of Ben Nevis, to me, is a good example of a brand of whisky of which I don’t necessarily have a high opinion of when it comes to the standard range. I have tasted the common 10 year old before and I wasn’t overly impressed by it. Because of this it is not part of my whisky collection. However, sometimes a brand of whisky can flourish when independent bottlers get their hands on it. That is definitely the case here. This is my first go at a bottling by Alambic Classique too, so I was excited to give it a try.
Nose: Gentle sherry influence, a bit creamy. Some coffee, and suddenly a very clear tropical fruit (especially banana) note. Mango as well. Milk chocolate, caramel. Very fruity. Not the dark, cooked berry kind that I often get in sherried whiskies, this is more like a tropical fruit cocktail. A hint of almond. With water the oak clearly surfaces, slightly subsiding the fruit.
Taste: More caramel, and mocha. Some good fruit again, but not as obvious as in the nose. Slightly bitter oak, more dark caramel. A slight salty hint. Obvious sherry and some spice. Coats the mouth, with a dry feel to it.
Finish: Quite long, with those classic sherry notes of spice, fruit, caramel and oak. A bittersweet aftertaste, which is actually quite nice. Some fruit still, but nowhere near as much as the nose offered.
Overall: The nose is absolutely fantastic. That very obvious tropical fruitiness is unlike anything I’ve sniffed before. In the taste and finish this becomes a bit more of a ‘generic’ whisky. Very enjoyable, but similar to things I’ve tried before. If they could match the enjoyment of the nose this would score 90+ for sure. I’m not complaining though, because this is just good stuff.
Rating: 4 stars (86-89 range)