top of page
  • Writer's pictureHarold

Ben Nevis Trio

Well, I guess this is really happening…

As the inaugural post for the IDS archives (minus the seven which were done prior, merely for website developing purposes), I chose to start off with arguably my favorite distillate at the moment. I’ve often seen the scotch market get carried away with “magical” vintages (i.e. the ’93 Glendronachs, ‘95/’96 Clynelish), when in reality it’s usually just the result of those distilleries dumping surplus stock from their higher yielding years, thus flooding the market for years to come. The legendary cult status for the 1996 independently bottled Ben Nevis’s have allowed the surrounding vintages to flourish under the radar, in my humblest of opinions, so I decided to show a little love to them with this one and put it to a mini-test.

Ben Nevis (The Whisky Jury) 1995/23 Year |1st Release| Refill Hogshead #970 - 51.2%
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Ben Nevis (The Whisky Jury)

1995/23 Year |1st Release|

Refill Hogshead 970 - 51.2%

Appearance: Pale brown

First Whiff: Fresh peeled mango skins.

Nose: Joyous…sorry. But really…tropical fruit basket is an understatement. Mineral (like oily chalk) and tart zesty yellow fruits…lemons, ataulfo mangos, banana laffy taffy.

Palate: Oily and fat. Creamy mouthfeel. Quite dangerous in fact. Heavy sweetness in the front, more bananas plus coconut…key lime pie. Slightly sour towards the back with some bitter citrus…a la grapefruits, lemon peels, and orange piths.

Finish: Medium, but perfect. Feels less than 51%...Supple like an old 40-43% G&M licensed bottling. Those always seem to punch a bit higher.

Summary: This one was released back in 2019, kicking off a now well-respected and highly reputable independent bottler who’s done little to let up in expectations and quality. It has a great, old-school simplicity to it, with some fantastic evolution in the glass (air time…always underrated). No water needed. Awesomely balanced with that citrus/coconut note basically being the key definer for a proper 90’s BN hoggie, for me. Only minor “deficiency,” for lack of a better word would be that it was almost too easy on the palate. A bit soft at times. I know…a real bummer.


Ben Nevis (The Whisky Exchange) 1996/22 Year |The Magic of the Cask| Refill Sherry Butt #1465 - 51.6% The Whisky Show 2019
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Ben Nevis (The Whisky Exchange) 1996/22 Year |The Magic of the Cask| Refill Sherry Butt 1465 - 51.6%

The Whisky Show 2019

Appearance: Tawny/Copper

First Whiff: Cocoa dusted cedar wood.

Nose: Super sweet. Chocolate covered oranges fade into vanilla butter loaf. Citrusy, lemon-lime custards, brown sugar, toasted coconut.

Palate: Creamier than TWJ. Oily, thick, starts with more minerality like before, some tangy orange, guava, lychee. I could really hit every citrus/topical fruit imaginable here if I really tried.

Finish: Long and supple. Perfect.

Summary: The first whisky to be sold with a flashlight, I believe. It was also one of the first ‘96ers to get the attention of the mass-collector market, which has hurt the wallets of all of us unfortunately. Very similar to the ’95 here, friendly to air time. Refill hoggies from BN tend to lean more yellow fruits (banana, pineapple), for me while refill butts sway a bit sweeter on the tropical side (guava, melon) so unsurprisingly, I found this a tinge more enjoyable. Just barely.


Ben Nevis (Berry Bros & Rudd) 1997 - Butt #103 - 55.8% (Royal Mile Whiskies)
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Ben Nevis (Berry Bros & Rudd)

1997 - Butt 103 - 55.8%

(Royal Mile Whiskies)

Appearance: Amber

First Whiff: Sandalwood and….PEAT??

Nose: It’s doubtful there’s any actual peat in here unless it came from the cask’s previous tenant. Still, I’m picking up some of the grassy, mossier shades of peat…slightly vegetal. More citrusy than the two previous fruit baskets. Distillate driven it seems.

Palate: Velvety, mineral and tart. Lemon sherbet, lemon drops. Slightly doughy, lemon cake. Tart pineapples & sour limes.

Finish: Ooo that’s got a bite. Harsh, bitter citrus on the backend.

Summary: I will say, this had a surprisingly nice mouthfeel for such a strong, stubborn spirit. The “butt” was obviously a refill, perhaps even a third fill, but I’d say were at least a decade away from bottlers disclosing that level of information (praise be to Glenfarclas!). So ya…different puppy here altogether, which ironically disproves my claim of the ’96 surrounding vintages holding up but alas, this will definitely not be the last of these tests, as all good theories must go through the proper due diligence. For science of course.



Ben Nevis Trio


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page