Contrary to my normal modus operandi, I’m actually ahead in tasting this whisky. Of course that is no coincidence, since the release of this review was more or less requested to be a little ahead of the actual release of the whisky. (Happy to oblige!)
Ben Nevis has been on a winning streak the last couple of years. So has The Duchess. Even so, my instinctive apprehension kicked in when I heard this was going to be a wine cask. This happened, quite obviously, because wine casks tend to be not-so-good at best.
Of course there are exceptions, but those confirm the rule instead of change it. So, a 10 year old one, from a red wine cask… But then again, it’s from The Duchess and they have been creating name for themselves to be a high quality bottler. Not unlike WhiskyNerds and Wu-Dram Clan.
So, let’s dive in and see where this one sits!
Lots of barley with brioche toast. Red fruits like strawberries and cherries, a whiff of hessian and dunnage warehouses.
The palate brings quite some chili heat, with roasted barley, bitter almonds and dried red fruits. Toasted oak, black pepper, strawberry juice, a whiff or rhubarb.
The finish is a bit richer, weightier. With red fruits, hessian, brioche.
Well, apart from me liking this quite a bit, it’s interesting to analize what’s happening. Because based on the flavors I encountered when tasting this, I would have guessed this to be a port cask if I would have tasted it blind. It’s not as light as a Shiraz would suggest.
Another benefit of that is it lacks the tannins often accompanying wine cask finished whisky. It’s not an overly dry whisky, and it doesn’t have the typical wine cask astringency. There’s a lot of fruit and brioche notes that give it just enough sweetness, and just enough depth.
A very good wine cask finished dram, this is!
Thanks to Nils at Best of Whiskies for the sample!