Glen Grant 1995-1997 / Ben Nevis 1996 / Equilibrium II (WhiskySponge)

Glen Grant 1995-1997 / Ben Nevis 1996 / Equilibrium II (WhiskySponge)

We have a look at three of the recent WhiskySponge releases.

First, there is a multi-vintage Glen Grant from refill casks. Next up is Ben Nevis 1996, already a rather legendary name and vintage.

Last but not least there is Equilibrium II, in a series that looks for a perfect balance between peat and sherry (see our Equilibrium I review). This time it is a mix of Edradour 2005 and Ballechin 2005, both from second fill sherry hogsheads.


Glen Grant 24 yo 1995 + 1997 (49,8%, WhiskySponge 2022, refill barrel + refill hogshead, 443 btl.)

Nose: a green, vegetal start. Ferns, vine leaf, hints of moss. Pencil lead. Vegetal oils. Then hints of green banana and apple, some cornflakes as well. Drying grasses. Subtle biscuity notes and a little ale too. All very natural and distillate-driven, but rather uncommon for its restrained fruitiness.

Mouth: still a little green, with more grassy notes and ginger, as well as echoes of IPA. Some grapefruits, but not what I call a fruity whisky. More of these vegetal oils, broken branches and leaves. Dark brewed herbal tea, including a mild bitter side, even a slightly ashy touch.

Finish: medium length, more on spicy wood now. Ginger, white pepper and green leafy notes.

This was a bit of a surprise, as I expected more fruits from Glen Grant. Instead it’s focused on green notes, herbs and grasses. Interesting, slightly deviant whisky. Still available from Decadent Drinks.



Ben Nevis 26 yo 1996 (50,1%, WhiskySponge 2022, refill hogshead, 213 btl.)

Ben Nevis 1996 - WhiskySpongeNose: pineapple and mango taking center stage, with mead, sweet lemons and all kinds of waxy notes. Orange flavoured jelly slices. Then it moves to lamp oil, beeswax and paraffin. Meadow flowers and apricot jam in the background. Really good.

Mouth: oily arrival and the tropical fruits are then right away. Thick mango syrup, pink grapefruit, hints of maracuja. All very ripe. Orange oils, with a brown sugar apple tarlet, leafy / herbal notes and some toasted wood towards the end. One of the more sherry influenced examples, I’d say, with a nice hint of rancio and old wood.

Finish: long, with hints of herbal tea, a subtle hint of tobacco and some fruity echoes.

Really good: this has all the tropical fruits we’ve come to expect from the 1996 vintage, butit also adds complexity from the cask. Nice refill (sherry?) character. Sold out, I believe. Score: 91/100



Equilibrium II 16 yo (55%, WhiskySponge 2022, second fill sherry hogsheads)

Equilibrium II - WhiskySpongeNose: second fill balance indeed. Sweet leathery notes, redcurrant jam, roasted pineapples and hints of cherries. Whiffs of copper polish. On the other side there is coal smoke, cecina meat and lovely pipe tobacco. Some coffee and caramel sweets in the background.

Mouth: nice cherries and chestnut honey, alongside dark chocolate and light herbal notes. Peat smoke and barbecue ashes are still there, but they find a good balance with the fruity sourness and a green spicy note. Grassy malt. Then some hints of bitter almond and liquorice too.

Finish: long, with leather, more coal, hints of marmalade and tobacco.

This is a tad lighter and more elegant than Equilibrium I. While sherried Ballechin can be overwhelming in terms of peat and sherry, this is actually very drinkable. More Equilibrium indeed. Still available from Decadent Drinks. Score: 88/100