[August, 2020] A quick review of a sample which came a long way from down under (no, not from Samoa - thanks, Jack)...
...which proves Ben Nevis owns an interesting and powerful profile. This release shows more of the bitter-nutty side of the Nevis but both sugars and fruits do a fine job to balance this somewhat. The tannins are at the edge (to my taste buds) but wood-heads will adore them, surely. Another good Ben Nevis release, it seems the nineties are a "golden era" for this fine distillery.
The colour is old gold and the nose offers the trademark fruity-floral Ben Nevis profile enriched with honeys, nuts and spices. After some breathing earthy notes join in (pine needles, wet forest floor) while the fruits retreat significantly. The spicy woods grow stronger as do the bitter nutty impressions (almonds, walnuts) which drives the nose a little out of balance, missing the sweeter side of the dram almost completely now.
The taste offers more fruits again, contained by an even bigger nuttiness than with the nose. The wood is firm but does not over-power and the barley sugars soothe the bitter impressions. After some chewing an interesting breadiness (sourdough) pops up which is a strange but tasty combo with the nuts and fruits (by the way, I never had a sourdough bread with nuts and fruits). Some water releases the bready aromas in the nose too but it turns both taste and finish less interesting. I prefer the neat dram.
The dram arrives a little hot on the palate with a nice coating effect but some bitter-astringent moments too (tannins at work). The finish is medium to long and adds more of the nutty impressions alongside the wooden notes. Surely, it dries out towards the end on tannins but this is no major deal. The finish is more simple than both nose and taste.