Whisky Review: Ben Nevis 16 Year Old 1998 Strictly Limited

Category: Highland single malt scotch whisky

Origin: Ben Nevis Distillery

Bottling: Morrison & Mackay; Càrn Mòr – Strictly Limited

ABV: 46%

Cost: £57.95 from The Whisky Shop Dufftown

ben-nevis-16-year-old-1998-strictly-limited

What they say:

This 1998 vintage Ben Nevis has been released as part of Morrison & Mackay’s Càrn Mòr Strictly Limited series. Aged for 16 years in a fino sherry cask, this has a creamy texture with notes of dried fruit and spice. It was distilled in 1998 and bottled in 2015 with an outturn of 733 bottles

What I say:

Dramvent Calender Day 10

This December I am attempting to sample and review a whisky everyday for the 24 days of Advent in the run up to Christmas. My very basic criteria as I sorted through my masses of whisky and samples were these:

  1. Single malt scotch only and should be (or have been) generally/easily available
  2. Each day must be from a different distillery
  3. Each day must be equivalent in age or older than the previous

A single Fino cask from Ben Nevis Distillery, matured for 16 years before bottling at 46% as part of the Càrn Mòr Strictly Limited range. Ben Nevis is a distillery I was late in discovering, but I’m so glad I finally got there! The OB 10 Year old is a lovely dram and much of the other whisky I have sampled are dingle casks way out of my price range, usually in some interesting casks like white port or this Fino Sherry. Thankfully the Strictly Limited range is much more affordable and I thank Johnnie Stumbler at The Nosing Arse for this particular sample.

Colour:

Amber with a rosy hue/white burgundy (5/20), slow and oily medium sized tears, infrequent fine legs

Nose:

On the nose this is buttery and oily with a rich tablet, sugary and cereal barley sweetness, fruity banana, apricot and some easy peel satsumas, creamy toffee and fudge, vanilla crème brulee and custard with a hint of freshly grated nutmeg

Taste:

Soft buttery and cereal & honey flapjacks, green banana, apricot flesh and satsuma peel (again), creamy toffee and an oak bitterness that balances the sweet with hints of lemon and lime zest, some chocolate, latte coffee, coffee grounds and a hint of smoke add weight to the bitter side. Medium bodied, almost light in places due to the creaminess of the oils in this.

Finish:

Long, briefly sweet before oaky, citric zesty and spicy bitterness takeover leaving dark chocolate covered coffee beans to persist.

Overall:

Beautiful nose and nicely balanced palate, unfortunately unravels a little in the finish although the specificity and definition of some of the flavours in here are sharp and to the point. I like the balance of sweet then bitter on the palate as Fino Sherry and lightly peated Ben Nevis spirit dance with each other on the tongue.

Score: 83/100

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