So, Ben Nevis from 1995 and 1996 is considered to be among the best there is, currently. In a way that makes it easy to focus on something, but you can also investigate if there’s such a big difference with these highly regarded vintages, compared to other vintages that are pretty close.
Hence, this 1998 Ben Nevis, shared by Tom, of guest post fame. From a (to me) unknown bottler, from a PX cask. And not at cask strength. Strangely, this makes it almost everything that the great ones from 2 or 3 years earlier are not. Let’s go!
Funky sherry, some vanilla, pastry cream. Some tropical fruit, the overripe kind. Mulchy oak, sweetened oatmeal. Cigar leaves, stewed strawberries.
Quite sharp for a 46% whisky, with a bit of bite from oak shavings, and a bitter note from date- and cherry stones. Funky-fruity, the overripe stuff. Mulchy oak with an earthy note, some grain and wood pulp.
The finish is slightly less funky, and veers back to that strawberry from before. Oak shavings, sawdust, bitter fruit stones.
The vanilla on the nose was a bit of a surprise, but at the time I didn’t know it was a sherry finish instead of a full maturation. On top of that, the sherry is a bit weird with the overripe fruit aromas happening. Not always a good thing. The combination of overripe fruit, with the mulch feels a bit forced. Apart from that, there are quite a lot of nice notes as well. The strawberry and cigar leaves always work well for me. The slight bitter note of fruit stones does too. So, some good and some lesser things are happening.