Ben Nevis 21, 46%, 1990-2012 – The Maltman

I feel like I’ve tortured Frank (formerly from the MeWhisky blog) by not reviewing this earlier. He sent me this somewhere in (I think) February and I let him know right away that it was a damn fine whisky. Then for the review. ‘Soon, soon!’ I told him.

But it wasn’t soon. It wasn’t soon at all. It took so long that the desperation caused him to close down his blog even! Well. No. That wasn’t it, but I just want to tease him a bit.

The Maltman is a division of Meadowside Blending, based in Glasgow. I met the younger guy of the team last year in Alkmaar, during the Hielander whisky festival. He let me taste quite some nice whiskies during the 45 minute chat we had. Check this post for more info.

Ben Nevis. The not so pretty distillery from Fort William. I’ve been to Fort William, while planning to visit the distillery too, but the ridiculously boring Jacobite train ride got in the way. I’ve seen the distillery again last year, but with the little one and hours of driving before us decided not to stop there. One day I will! Unless Glenfiddich sues me for copyright stuff…

Ben Nevis 21 by The Maltman. Image from Whiskybase

Ben Nevis 21 by The Maltman. Image from Whiskybase

It’s pretty heavy with old barley, white oak made into not-too-active casks. I guess this was a refill, but with 21 year in wood, who cares! There’s something grassy in the background.

It’s full, rich and sweet. Quite peppery, with grass, green apple and white oak. Thick and syrupy.

The finish gives quite the crescendo with ginger, cinnamon and ‘bourbon cask’. Also some corky apple, oak, barley, straw and grass.

Short notes, but believe me when I say I like this dram. I didn’t have any problems finishing the sample given to me. My first encounter with The Maltman range, but after adding to my experience at Hielander Whisky Festival, still my favourite bottling!

I’m not overly familiar with Ben Nevis, but I know it’s quite an unpredictable distillery in terms of quality. Some sherry casks are overly sulphury, some bourbon casks very boring. This one hits all the right spots for me, and while there are many dimensions to bourbon maturation, I like how this one emphasises the heavy character of Ben Nevis.

Ben Nevis 21, 46%, 1990-2012, The Maltman. Available for € 98 at WhiskyBox

Thanks to Frank for the sample!


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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