47.5% ABV - Highlands, Scotland
Nose: Rich prunes, jam, old warehouse, malty (which is quite present throughout), chocolate covered nuts, a cooked fruit stew, and spices.
Taste: Dried red fruits with an earthy peatiness. Slightly malty/bready flavours, and then more cooked fruits and spices.
Finish: Smoke keeps rolling here, with red fruits and spices. Maybe some berries here and there.
Any 4-Year Ben Nevis bottling is fairly rare in the wild, as far as I know, and I was quite excited when the whisky club listed this one for sale to members (the Companions of the Quaich). This one is not to be confused with the other 2015 Ben Nevis that was also bottled under the Càrn Mòr ‘Strictly Limited’ line – I never did get to try that one, which was bottled in 2019 at 61.4% ABV. Hmm, maybe the recent availability of two young Ben Nevis’ should discount my claim of "rarity" for this age range, but nevertheless it’s definitely uncommon for any distillery.
On to the whisky itself! This Ben Nevis is fully matured in an ex-Sherry Hogshead. I think that those aromas are prevalent on the nose but ultimately we have a very spirit-driven backbone to this single malt. While I certainly can appreciate whiskies that haven’t spent very long in the barrel, they tend to have a very malty/bread and spice to them (for my palate) that I am not completely fond of.
What I really liked about this dram was the earthy, peat undertone. I did not find it very phenolic or ash-smoky. Just a very nice wet earth, wet root, old warehouse character to it. Bonus points that it can be enjoyed at bottling strength. All in all, I’ll likely take a chance should a similar bottle appear, but I might have liked it bottled at higher proof or a bit longer in the barrel. It feels that it came out a wee bit too early. (Scored decently high, regardless!)
Details: Distilled 2015. Bottled 2020. Age: 4 Years. Matured in Sherry Hogsheads. 900 Bottles from 2 Casks.
Tasting Notes (Official): Raisins, stewed prunes and leather at the forefront with a rich earthiness in the background.
Tasted 05 July 2020. (Posted 05 July 2020.)