Whisky Review: Ben Nevis 10 Years Old
Category: Highland single malt scotch whisky
Origin: Ben Nevis Distillery
Cost: £29.99 from MoM ; £36.95 from TWE
What they say:
Our single malt was introduced to the market back in 1996 using whisky produced in 1986, the last year that Long John International produced whisky at Ben Nevis distillery. Initially sales were very slow until we packaged the bottle in a presentation tube since when this has gone on to become our largest selling whisky. In Jim Murray’s “Whisky Bible 2004” he says this:- ‘such a massive introduction to the palate: soft oils, citrus notes and very big oak on the malt, but sweet enough to chew forever; the integration of the oak really makes for some finish: long, hints of bitter roast coffee against the sweet oils; the nose makes you say oh-oh, but you need a knife, fork spoon and napkin for the taste’.
We were awarded a grand gold medal by Monde Selection in 1999 and again in 2000. It also won a gold medal in 2001 and a trophy for three consecutive years of being awarded gold and grand gold medals. We were also awarded a silver medal by Monde Selection for this product in 2003.
What I say:
Having sampled several Ben Nevis expressions recently that had really tickled my taste-buds I was on the lookout for more when I found a bottle of their standard (Official Bottling) 10 Years Old. I was in luck as my birthday was rapidly approaching and so this immediately went onto my wishlist and was promptly purchased for me by Paula. Then came the wait before I could crack this open!
Russet copper amber gold (11/20), medium-sized droplets with thick trails
Cinnamon buns, freshly baked wholewheat bread, Christmas (fruit) cake, spiced gingerbread with orange marmalade, malty cereal barley, hints of soft leather, deep rich fruits, figs, prunes, dates, currants, cherries, some coconut and sandalwood and plenty of toffee and caramel oak wood.
Sweet all butter toffee and caramel sauce initially, then some spiced pepper and ginger, nutmeg and clove, sandalwood, earthy peat and wispy gentle peat smoke, dark chocolate, coffee (a little bitter – like espresso), also mocha and latte, full bodied, gingerbread, Christmas cake and plum pudding were called to mind, perhaps a little heather blossom honey and salt caramel too.
Medium-long, spiced steamed toffee & ginger sponge pudding
This is a lovely expression, brimming with character and very typically adhering to the ‘West Highland’ flavour profile. There is a generous dollop of sherry-influence in here, enough peat to gently declare its presence without being overt. Plenty of sweet and spiced savoury really appealed to my sweet-tooth (or dessert stomach!). Overall I was very pleased with this present and wish I had discovered it sooner!