In the latest batch from The Whisky Jury there is also a Ben Nevis 1996 matured in a sherry cask (again with a nice visual nod towards the old label of the official bottlings). Now I’m always a little wary of Ben Nevis from sherry casks – I feel it’s not always a good match to the spirit, taking away most of that wonderful fruitiness.
Ben Nevis 1996 (52,8%, The Whisky Jury 2021, 2nd anniversary bottling, sherry butt #1473, 354 btl.)
Nose: no worries. It’s a clean style of sherry, oldskool in a way. A lot of tobacco notes and cigar boxes. Raisin rolls and bready notes with walnuts. After a while some red berries and blood oranges, stewed apples and preserved cherries come out. Dark honey. Whiffs of old metal tools and the usual chalky notes as well.
Mouth: pretty great. You get the expected sherry character at first, showing walnuts, spices, chocolate and herbal notes, as well as a light bitterness of Fino sherry. Then it shows great flashes of pink grapefruits and exotic fruit pulp, until it returns to minerals, herbs, eucalyptus. Back to walnuts and marmalade, with hints of leather and ginger. Slightly dry and austere but it matches the spirit instead of fighting it.
Finish: long, on liquorice, chocolade coated walnuts, Amontillado and tobacco leaves.
Anachronistic, complex whisky with a great sherry influence, leaving room for the fruits – just a lovely Ben Nevis. Not for beginners, but a wonderful addition to the already impressive collection of TWJ bottlings from this distillery.