Every decent bottler should have a Ben Nevis these days, preferably one of these 1995 or 1996 casks. The Dutch guys who call themselves WhiskyNerds have just released a Ben Nevis 1996. Expectations are high.
Ben Nevis 23 yo 1996 (46,1%, WhiskyNerds 2020, bourbon hogshead #954, 75 btl.)
Nose: boring, just excellent. There’s lemongrass, unripe bananas, hints of ginger and pineapple cake. Sunflower oil and paraffin. Fresh lime. One of the more vertical, chalky examples, with a great fruity side as well.
Mouth: this unique mix of bright, lightly tropical fruits and mineral notes. Albariño. Heather and chalk, pears, hints of grapefruit and one (shy) passion fruit. Candle wax. Wet pebblestones, a whiff of menthol and some earthy touches. This has a slight austerity (Springbank-style at times), less creamy and perhaps even less fruity than some of the sister casks.
Finish: long, mineral, with big waxy notes and some wet leaves.
Quite excellent again, even though it’s slightly more narrow than the best casks in my book. Not that it matters much: with just 75 bottles, you should have made a reservation long ago (or won one of the ballots). But where’s the rest of this cask?