Ben Nevis is another distillery that I love but whose malt I sadly don’t get to drink too often. I am very fond of the classic 10 years old, and when the distillery released this “Batch Number 1“, I thought of a 10 years old on steroids bottled at cask strength. Together with some friends I decided to buy a bottle, and I have been rewarded with awesomeness, even though it is quite different from its brother (now returned to the shelves after a brief time being discontinued). It’s a whisky distilled in 2008 and bottled in 2018, and even in the glass it looks redder than Black Widow’s hair, and probably just as deadly. So now brace yourself for some assassin tasting notes.
Nose: Immediately a powerful smell that reminds me a bit of a Jamaican rum – not that I know much about rum, it’s probably all in my mind. Alcohol, fortified wine, tons of dried fruits unloaded directly into my nostrils. Dried plums in particular, I think. I also get some damp earth, along with dried figs and leather. It’s powerful and big and undisciplined, but I like it! With water the leather is even stronger than before, as it seems dirtier and more winey. Some ginger, too, with iodine and cooked fruits.
Taste: Salt, leather, and that powerful flavour (like, I don’t know, rotten banana) I smelled before and made me think of Jamaican rum. To be honest, now I feel like hordes of red fruits are screaming under the banana and a pineapple which, frankly, looks a bit lost in this tasty mess. Dirtier than Saul Goodman, harder than Mike Ehrmantraut, with a very intense alcohol which, though, seems very well integrated to me. I think I taste even a marine side, but it disappears quickly. With water I think I am tasting more nuts, dried plums, something salty again, and that overripe banana that doesn’t stop… well, being overripe. Oh, and it’s oily, definitely very oily! And very good.
Finish: Decent and quite long, with a solid leathery taste followed by what I can only identify as a mind-boggling nutmeg.
Overall: OK, you guessed it right: I really really liked it. It’s “only” 10 years old and, like the “normal” Ben Nevis 10 years old, this whisky is a solid and clear punch in the face to those ones who say that a whisky can be good only if very old. To me this one is just super tasty and it deserves a somewhat surprising 92/100.