Taste Review #26 – Ben Nevis 10
After the low of last week’s review (Jura Journey) I thought it best to get it back on track again. Let’s just forget last week’s review ever happened.
So, with our memory cleared, let’s begin again.
From the highest mountain in Speyside to the highest mountain in the UK, Ben Nevis puts Benrinnes in the shade. Literally, if placed side to side. Both hills give their name to a malt of the same name, and both fly under the radar so to speak, but due to the fact it has a visitor centre and is in a main tourist centre, Ben Nevis is probably the better known.
Situated just to the north of Fort William, I’d visited with my wife about 4 years ago. The distillery at the time had a shortage of some of its own produce, possibly due to stock mismanagement or their Japanese masters being a wee bit tight with the purse strings. Even now, some Ben Nevis stock is hard to get.
Fort William is a major tourist hub of the Lochaber region of Scotland, at the southern end of the Great Glen, which links Fort William with Inverness via Loch Lochy, Loch Oich and Loch Ness. Thanks to the Caledonian Canal, you can sail from Inverness to Fort William through some fairly stunning scenery.
Although not the largest area of of water in the UK (that’s Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland) nor the deepest (Loch Morar), it does have the largest volume of fresh water in the UK. Loch Ness holds more water than the combined volumes of lakes in England and Wales. Plus it has a monster.
The best part of the Ben Nevis distillery tour is the short video at the start. A work of pure fiction that is so cringeworthy and based in the 1980’s is the character ‘Hector McDram’ a giant who is supposed to have made Ben Nevis and surrounding mountains by hand. While stopping for a break, he brewed some of the local spring water and this is what gave us Ben Nevis whisky. Somewhat fanciful, and the distorted VHS style playback added to the nonsense factor. Worth seeing for the comedic value alone.
Fort William is the starting point for the Jacobite steam train to Mallaig, a must for Harry Potter fans, as it passes over the Glenfinnan viaduct. Perhaps the distillery has missed a trick, and should say it’s the whisky that powers Harry’s Ford Anglia over the viaduct and not magic. More believable than old Hector…..
On to the whisky
10 years old
Surprised it was so pleasant. Deep, rich, with a very slight hint of smoke, roasted nuts, toffee, peaches.
A bit of an alcoholic fizz in the arrival, almost like its carbonated. Honey, Oak, dried fruits, warmed spices. A wee bit of water works wonders.
Long, spicy with hints of fruit. Quite smooth after the arrival on the palate. Drying.
This is a dram that is good, but requires a small bit of water to even it out. It maybe suffers having the addition of colour, and although it’s 46%, I can’t be sure it isn’t chill filtered. The palate also had tannic notes, which did hint at an Oak influence.
It isn’t a particularly cheap 10 year old. But it is harder to get. Recent rumours is that they have temporarily run out of stock to make the 10 year old, but this is not a discontinued dram, albeit harder to pick up. This will see prices rise with a restricted supply.
Prices online are between £45 – £50, but try your local friendly whisky emporium.
Would I buy it? Maybe. It’s 46% so ticks a lot of boxes, but I didn’t really engage with it. As I only had a small sample, perhaps 2 drams aren’t enough to form a close enough relationship with the spirit. However, if I saw it on offer at a decent price, I would definitely buy.
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Distillery – scottishfield.com
Hector McDram – bennevisdistillery.com
Nessie – VisitScotland.com
Harry Potter – Shot on location
All images used under fair use policy. All other images authors own.