Orkney 2011 / Ben Nevis 2013 (Single Malts of Scotland)

Orkney 2011 / Ben Nevis 2013 (Single Malts of Scotland)

I promised you duo reviews this week. Here are two new Single Malts of Scotland releases from Elixir Distillers, exclusive to Kirsch Import in Germany. Both matured in sherry butts, but the difference in colour and profile is huge.


An Orkney Distillery 10 yo 2011 (49,9%, Single Malts of Scotland for Kirsch Import 2022, sherry butt #5, 565 btl.)

Nose: a nicely sweet and sour combination. Cherry juice, hints of tobacco and wet wood. Later also juicy nectarines and karkadeh tea. At times it reminds me of a fresh old cognac as well. Then darker fig syrup and heather honey in the background. Intense, clean and beautiful.

Mouth: light smoky notes now, blending nicely with cigar leaves and cedar wood, as well as blackberries, raspberries and sour cherries. Then chocolate coated raisins, cocoa and cold coffee. Pleasant wood spice, leafy notes and a feeling of old varnished wood. I love this sweet and sour profile, although complexity is lower than the nose suggested.

Finish: not extremely long, but showing nice walnuts, tobacco and chocolate.

A really great bottling in my opinion, offering plenty of quality for the money. At around € 75 in German shops, this comes recommended, although it’s already gone in most places.



Ben Nevis 8 yo 2013 (67%, Single Malts of Scotland for Kirsch Import 2022, sherry butt #1271, 790 btl.)

Ben Nevis 2013 - Single Malts of Scotland - Kirsch Import

Nose: clean matchstick heads up front. Then hints of suet, worn leather and damp earth. Porridge. Light hints of dried fruits and soaked pears. Pretty closed though, the ABV is a bit of a dealbreaker.

Mouth: a similar ‘slightly off-beat’ profile with more of this unlit matchstick character. Roasted walnuts and almonds, musty apples and cinnamon. Coffee but perhaps that’s the high ABV again. A few drops of water bring out chalky notes, chocolate and something vaguely medicinal. Dried ginger and tobacco leaves after a while.

Finish: medium length, on wood spice, roasted nuts and a whiff of cocoa.

Typical quirky Ben Nevis, but this one didn’t quite click with me. The roasted side is quite overpowering and the ABV is quite hard to bring down to a better level. Still available for around € 65, check Whisky-Maniac for instance. Score: 82/100