Here are a few firsts, and on paper a quite interesting one to boot. This is the first Ben Nevis on these pages. It’s also the first time I’m reviewing a Whisky that was bottled by The House of MacDuff. Now for the interesting part. Some of you might have read “Wort, worms & washbacks” The memoirs of John McDougall written by Gavin D. Smith. By the way, Gavin was “reviewed” once before, so he’s no first. The House of MacDuff is a venture of Jane MacDuff ánd John McDougall. John also picks the casks for bottling under the Golden Cask brand. For those of you who haven’t read this book, well it’s utterly entertaining and very funny. Recommended. John has worked at a lot of very interesting distilleries in all Scottish regions, so I’m assuming that all picks by John just have to be great. I got a few samples from the series, and I’ll start with this Ben Nevis from 1986.
Color: Pinkish gold
Nose: Fresh, sharp and fruity sweet. Black tea (dry leaves). Nice bourbon cask not dissimilar from the Cadenhead offerings (Bourbon Barrels). Warm apple sauce and quite thick. Condensed sweet apple. Not a lot of wood, but there seems to be enough vanillin going around in this. Sawdust. Slightly vegetal too. Hints only of ethanol.
Taste: Sweet, vegetal and slightly woody (multiplex). Quite full and round (sweet) mouthfeel. This is not bad, not very complex but very likeable. Taste is pretty balanced, for me it just goes a bit wrong in the finish. Slightly acidic and the vegetal part (fern) starts to play a larger role. Also, but very late, comes in some bitterness from the wood. Fern with the sweetness, and the slight bitterness, is maybe a strange combination, but hey it’s only part of the finish, so don’t worry.
The Golden Cask don’t disclose all the facts of the cask, but this is probably a Bourbon Barrel. This bottling has yielded 111 bottles, so I’m guessing the cask was shared and this is only half the output from the cask. The second half was probably bottled for the Whiskymesse Rüsselsheim. That bottling yielded 100 bottles. 100 bottles of whisky on the wall, was probably the original order with The Golden Cask buying the rest of barrel #133. Therefore this Ben Nevis should also be 26yo.