I don’t believe I have every tried a peaty Ben Nevis. This 12 years old from 2006, bottled at cask strength by the Italian company Hidden Spirits, matured on a heavily peated sherry cask. Not sure what to think of that. And I confess, it’s a dirty brown. Almost looks like rusty water. Well, no time like the present, I suppose.
Okay, let me just start by saying that this is a schizophrenic nose! Dark fruity notes like plums, dates, raisins and a handful of nuts on the one hand, green garden herbs and Maggimix on the other. The whole is wrapped in a weird smoky blanket, giving me the feeling of nosing cooled down broth. And I have to admit… I’m in doubt. It’s a bit like a Woody Allen film: love it or hate it. In my book, this is a cacophony that does not work.
Oh, much better on the palate! Dark fruit and oranges in a stew, the spices become Oriental, the smokiness underpins it all and gives it depth and warmth. Chewing tobacco and black pepper, espresso, origin chocolate and plums. It does work on the palate!
The finish is very long, spicy with a nice note of plum liqueur and walnuts, while some mint offers an uplift at the death.
Very surprising, but completely schizophrenic Ben Nevis. What a ride!