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  • Writer's pictureHarold

1996 Ben Nevis Vol. 01

I mentioned a little something, back in my inaugural post, about how the seemingly surplus of Ben Nevis stock from 1996 might have something to do with its legendary status, in recent years. I must admit though, I unintentionally happened to leave out a crucial element to that statement...consistency. When the market swarms to a new single cask release, without a review or personal experience attached to it, it usually means there's a mark of consistency and the price/expectation scale has already started leaning towards the latter.

Like many, I imagine...I got a bit carried away with all the new '96 BN releases, especially during the pandemic (who didn't?), and so I figured, rather than trying to do as many as possible per sitting, I'd start a series devoted to this great vintage and all the wonderful releases I've been able to get my hands on.

Ben Nevis (Liquid Treasures) 1996/25 Year - Bourbon Hogshead #1747 - 53.6% ~Joint Bottling w/Acla de Fans~
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Ben Nevis (Liquid Treasures)

1996/25 Year - Bourbon Hogshead 1747 - 53.6% *Joint Bottling w/Acla da Fans*

When two great independent bottlers join forces, great things usually happen. Throw in a '96 Ben Nevis, and you're just swimming in expectations now. I'm not familiar with the direct connection(s) between these companies, besides the obvious benefits of expansion into each other's markets, but I'm assuming the level of appreciation goes beyond the beautiful bottles, which are often adorned with some artistic artwork.

Appearance: Pale/Medium brown

First Whiff: Warm apple cider

Nose: Ya, we’ve got the US northeast fall/autumn side of Ben Nevis here…baked apple spice. Green apples, with a tropical side. Dried yellow bananas with a sort of floral, freshness…grassy. With water: Softer side. Banana Starburst.

Palate: More fruity, citrusy to start…lemons, grapefruit. Ginger spice, sweeter orchard fruits in the middle…more green apple, Forelle pears. The backend has some tropical stuff going on, more sweet, dried bananas, pineapple, Guava. With water: Little difference.

Finish: Medium, citrusy burn/unbalance. Starfruits, passion fruits. Pretty thin, goes down quick.

Summary: A more Speyside style Nevis out of this one. Less tropical, more citrus/fresh fruits, which is fine, just not where BN really shines. It’s more of a spirit driven hogshead bottling; would’ve probably benefitted from some further ageing or secondary maturation to round out some of the off notes. Nitpicking some quality stuff here, of course, but it’s only because we all hold these ‘96ers in such high regard.


Ben Nevis (Murray McDavid)  1996/25 Year |Mission Gold - Limited Release| Refill Hogshead #1582 - 53.9% ~Bottled for Tyndrum Whisky~
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Ben Nevis (Murray McDavid)

1996/25 Year |Mission Gold - Limited Release| Refill Hogshead 1582 - 53.9%

*Bottled for Tyndrum Whisky*

Usually you'd have to go off to one of the islands in the Caribbean to find some buried gold...but in this case, all Tyndrum had to do was go through the Murray McDavid warehouses, it seems. Almost as rare as gold, was finding a cask in their warehouse that avoided a cask enrichment, or finishing for the laymen amongst us.

Appearance: Pale/Medium brown

First Whiff: Spicy crème brûlée

Nose: Tight, restrained. Even after plenty of airtime in the glass. The greener side of things here, grassy, sweet fern (like the bug repellent kind I learned in the Boy Scouts). With water: Ahh, lemon pastries, lemon tarts. Some candied banana…no peat, but there’s a subtle iodine/earthy decay note that peaks in.

Palate: Light work from the refill hoggie. Tropical, but tied down…dried pineapple is all I could pinpoint before water. With water: Don’t hold back. Takes well to the water, much fatter now. Cedar/must, vanilla/almond extract, tart green apple. Rusty old car hood. Light cinnamon dusting.

Finish: Medium, burns up front still. Like the LT/Acla bottling, there’s some chunkier tropical notes on the backend but overtaken by unbalance.

Summary: I’ve gotten towards the lower end of this bottle and I’d have to say it’s gotten less exciting, oddly. Water helped this from going off the deep end, but it’s way more restrained than most of the ’96 fruit bombs we’ve come to adore.



1996 Ben Nevis Vol. 01


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