Auction: SFW40 - Spink x Cask 88 E-Auction - e-Auction
Distillery: Ben Nevis
Age: 9 years
Distillation Date: 16th May 2013
Cask type: Refill Bourbon Barrel
Re-gauge ABV: 58.4%
Re-gauged Litres of Alcohol (RLA): 100.6 litres
New Bulk Litres: 172.2 litres
Re-gauge Date: 27th July 2022
Cask Number: 237
A Complex Dram Characteristic of the Beloved West Highland Distillery
Since inception, Ben Nevis distillery has produced excellent west-Highland character whisky with a full body, floral notes overlapping the richness of honey and dried fruits. The distillery is unusual in Scotland for keeping up a tradition of mixing some brewer's yeast in during fermentation. This slower, fussier breed of yeast is less efficient at making alcohol, but particularly good at generating fruity esters. This trade-off is immediately apparent in the rich bouquet of Ben Nevis' spirit.
Ben Nevis typically matures whisky in ex-bourbon hogsheads to start, before finishing them in ex-sherry casks to lend extra body and texture. This Ben Nevis is still in its first stage ex-bourbon hoggie, actively in the process of layering the flavours that sit at the core of Ben Nevis malt.
This leaves the owner of the cask with a choice - re-rack the whisky into a sherry cask and produce a classic style Ben Nevis, or leave the whisky in the original Hogshead for a longer period of more gentle ex-bourbon maturation. There's also the opportunity to see how Ben Nevis might interact with a novel cask type never seen before. Ben Nevis is robust - it can take it!
Ben Nevis had the steady hands of Colin Ross at its helm since 1989, in an unbroken stint until his sad death last year. Colin navigated his beloved distillery into the 21st century without sacrificing the particular historical quirks that make Ben Nevis special. In 2015, he was inducted into the Whisky Hall of Fame, an honour reserved for the brightest stars in the industry.
"Colin takes people on a journey with him. He instils his work ethic and values, and is an incredible motivator, allowing people to realise their potential. His door is always open and he makes time to listen and offer advice." - from the Whisky Hall of Fame
The Ben Nevis distillery is one of the most scenic in Scotland, situated between the shores of Loch Linnhe and the foot of the UK's highest mountain from which the distillery takes its name. It has been around since licensing began, when its founder - the colourful 'Long John' Macdonald took out a licence in 1825. Over the centuries, Ben Nevis distillery has been a producer of both single malts and coffey still whiskies, often blending them on site to create 'the Dew of Ben Nevis'. In 1989, the distillery was purchased by the Nikka group, who had long been importing Ben Nevis' whisky to Japan to create novel blends of Japanese and Scottish heritage. These days, with the changes in Japanese whisky regulations, Nikka have re-focused on the excellent single malt whisky of Ben Nevis whose popularity grows in markets around the world.
Textbook Ben Nevis on the nose - a hit of fruity, with some earthiness in support. Peach, apple and sultana lead into heather, cut grass and damp moss. Milk chocolate and middle-eastern sweetmeats are also on offer.
Bitter orange marmalade, liqueur fudge and hazelnuts, all scattered with desiccated coconut. A light coffee cake served with vanilla chantilly. A longish liquorice finish.