Kirsch Import released this Ben Nevis 2014 as a kind of folly. The label is something I’m sure my daughters would love – quite funny to see this on a whisky. The dram itself is quite a unicorn indeed, as you will rarely find Ben Nevis bottled from a first fill sherry cask. It is dark as cola – brace yourself.
Ben Nevis 6 yo 2014 ‘Unicorn’ (46%, Signatory Vintage for Kirsch Import 2021, first fill sherry butt, 823 btl.)
Nose: Edradour sherry style applied to Ben Nevis. Really sweet, sticky sherry. Redcurrant jam, some raspberry candy and dates. Then it grows deeper, with hints of dark chocolate, light tobacco and some green leafy notes. I think I also detect a whiff of unicorn poop, which supposedly reeks of strawberries. The only thing it doesn’t resemble is Ben Nevis, except for the dirty edge.
Mouth: it’s all about the sherry cask. Bottlers like Signatory Vintage try this out on all sorts of distilleries, and they’re all very similar. Much darker now, lacking the fruity notes that kept the nose interesting. Leafy notes, a herbal bitter edge, alongside dark chocolate. Toffee and caramel. Some berry sourness. Clove and black pepper becomes louder in the end.
Finish: rather short actually. More chocolate and wood spice.
A funny label, but the sherry profile is not as frisky and playful as you’d think. I don’t mind this kind of treatment with Allt-A-Bhainne or Glenlivet, but perhaps some spirits are too characterful for this. That said, even the sherry itself is thinner and leafier than I’d like. It just doesn’t click for me. The original price (€ 60) was reasonable but secondary prices are outrageous.