Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis 21 Years Old 1990 Single Cask

Ben Nevis 21 Years Old 1990 Ruby Port Cask Finish (59.8%, OB, Ruby Port Cask #3/10/4, 825 Bottles, 2012)

  • ABV: 59.8%
  • Age: 21 Years Old
  • Bottling: OB
  • Category: Highland single malt scotch whisky
  • Cost: £sold out
  • Origin: Ben Nevis distillery
  • Vintage: 1990


What they say

An intriguingly and intricately matured single malt from the Ben Nevis distillery in the Scottish Highlands. It was initially matured in refill hogsheads for 13 years, at a strength of 72.5% ABV no less. After that, it was “vatted” and filled into ruby Port bodega butts. This particular edition was allowed to mature for a further 8 years before being bottled at a cask strength of 59.8% ABV.

What I say

Ben Nevis distillery popped onto my radar some time ago. I guess I approached it with gusto as I was unaware of the poorer stock circulating from years of mismanagement (apparently). It is clear that under the new ownership things had improved. This expression was distilled the year after Nikka acquired Ben Nevis and has spent 13 years in a refill ex-Bourbon Hogshead before being finished for 8 years in an ex Ruby Port cask.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Blood red (16/20), slow, medium tears and legs.
  • Nose: Woody and sweet, Plums, perhaps a hint of soor plum sweeties, Jammy fruits, red berries, strawberry and rose jam and a little rose turkish delight, plenty of malty barley, a touch leathery and almost meaty too with some grassy and a little ferment yeasty/doughy notes.
  • Taste: Brioche and jam, plum, strawberry and rose again, woodland berries, raspberry, bramble and cherries too, mineralic chalk lends a soapy texture along with floral rose and violet, tobacco leaf and some tannic oak wood precede woody herbs, rosemary and thyme jelly or honey
  • Finish: Long, woody and fruity, dark chocolate, tobacco leaf and musty dunnage warehouse.


An impressive colour and palate to match. Quite woody and challenging initially, needs to breathe or a drop of water to relax it a little. An unforgettable single cask expression from Ben Nevis.

Score 85/100

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