Archives is het label under which the owners of Whiskybase bottle and in 2018 and 2019 they bottled two hogsheads of Ben Nevis 1996. Hogshead #521 got a reptile on the label and was shipped to Shinanoya in Japan, hogshead #1862 got a fish and remained in Europe. I am happy to be able to put them head-to-head, ending with the 22 years old for the home market. It is a lot darker and has a significantly higher ABV than that of its sibling.
On the nose, it is ‘darker’ as well, if you catch my meaning. Tropical fruit is mixed with beeswax and motor oil! And it works. Raisins and banana go hand-in-hand with fresh figs and para nuts. Underneath a sneaky pepper note is abiding it’s time.
Oh, yes! This is very oily on the palate. Fatty. Waxy. Call it what you will, it sticks to the teeth. The tropical fruit is now put aside a bit by the dark, syrupy honey and baking butter, while muscovado sugar makes it sweeter still. Thanks to the higher ABV it packs a punch. The pepper comes out of its hiding place. This is delicious.
The finish is a good continuation with lots of beeswax and dark honey.
A liquid dessert of the highest order and much better than its sibling that went to Japan. No offence, my Japanese friends. Our palates differ, after all.