Ben Nevis 1996-2015, 46% – Cooper’s Choice

A few years the Cooper’s Choice brand was revamped and got a lot more shelf space in The Netherlands. I even managed to pick up a bottle or two and there was even a dedicated tasting in Krommenie.

Well, dedicated is overstating it. It was announced as such I believe, but in the end there also were some Valinch and Mallet whiskies in the tasting, and a single cask release from Kilchoman, which was a tad weird.

Anyway, around that time, this Ben Nevis came out and I did a bottle-share with the brand a little while later. Which meant, I was on the lookout for stuff like this. An 18 year old Ben Nevis from a first fill sherry cask is not something to scoff at, if done right.

I wasn’t even too disappointed it turned out to be a 46% whisky, both because I’m getting a bit done with these hyper-charged afterburner whiskies and want my palate to be alive in the morning as well. Also, there were some other whiskies in the share that were high strength, and a bit of a spread is nice.

I hope to visit the distillery in April, but with the reputation of it being a bit of a run down place spreading, I might not be able to convince my friends to give up time to do so.

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Image from Whiskybase

Sniff:
Slightly funky with a dollop of sweet tropical fruits behind it. The sherry brings peaches and a hint of mango.

Sip:
A lot drier on the palate. Lots of fruit but a little bit of bitterness too. Almost like the mango and peach from the nose are unripe on the palate.

Swallow:
The light bitterness carries through, but the sweetness is a bit more prominent too. Very fruity with a bit more oak.

Contrary to what I expected, I think this whisky suffered a bit from the lack of a higher strength. It felt a bit thin and the flavors were (quite literally) watered down. The sherry brings a lot of fruitiness, but it masks the distillery profile a bit.

It’s a very enjoyable whisky, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not as stellar as I hoped it would be.

87/100

Ben Nevis 18yo, 1996-2015, First Fill Sherry Hogshead 2872, 46%. Available for € 129 at The Old Pipe

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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