Ben Nevis and Ben Nevis grain whisky


Ben Nevis distillery is situated in Fort William at the foot of Scotland's highest mountain, Ben Nevis, from which the distillery takes its name.

It was founded in 1825 by John McDonald and taken over by Ben Nevis Distillery Co. Ltd in 1955.

It was re-purchased by Long John Distillers in 1981 but sadly they closed it in 1986.

Japanese distillery Nikka bought it in 1989 and reopened the distillery in 1991, since which it has remained operational.


Photo by Jousset, via Wikimedia Creative Commons License


 More great distillery info here, thanks to Malt Madness



  Ben Nevis (single malts)   General whisky characteristics: Aromatic and fruity, but also full-bodied  

Ben Nevis, 25y, Dec. 1984 - Jan. 2010, 56% ABV

Single Cask No. 98/35/1

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass; Classic Malt

Colour; Walnut

Nose: That little nose burn tells me lots of alcohol (it is 56% abv). After some minutes my nose has acclimitised and the first delight is nicely waxed antique oak, followed by leather then prunes and plums sitting in a gentle orange marinade.

Palate: Smooth and warming as the marinated fruit gently spreads across the palate leaving the leather and wood lingering in the aftertaste.

With 3 drops of water; The wood gives way to the fruit on the nose whilst the palate comes alive with a spicy, waxy mixture of wood, leather and those orange-marinated fruits.

Finish; very long, smooth and deep.

Overall impression: A truly delightful whisky with a great depth of flavour befitting its 25y wait.



Ben Nevis, 41y, April 1967 - Jan. 2009, 49.4% ABV

Exclusive edition for Alambic Classique, Sherry Hogshead 1281

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Dram-atics live review


Glass; Classic Malt

Colour; Very dark, mahogany

Nose: Well roasted chestnuts marinated in aged amaretto. Something a little vegetal and rather pleasant develops.

Palate: Dr
y with massive herbs, but the nuts of the nose never quite appear on the palate. This is very herbal.

Finish; Long and dry with something really quite 'aged'.

Overall impression: A good whisky, perhaps very good, but very herbal and in many ways akin to an aged rum. Is it perhaps over-aged?




  Independent Bottlers    


Murray McDavid Ben Nevis, 6y, 46% ABV

Bourbon and Port casks

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Colour: Pale yellow and it even looks a little oily

Nose: Strange, slightly insipid. I said it looked slightly oily, the nose now has an oily wine tinge in the background.

Palate: Not at all oily, quite smooth with a weak fruity wine flavour which diminishes pretty quickly. The tingle stays far longer than the primary flavours.

Overall impression: For some unknown (to me) reason, maybe due to its youth at 6 years old, I expected quite a lot from this whisky but I am initially quite disappointed. I expected more ....... oooomph more flavour, and perhaps more wine influence. But no, I get a weak wine flavour which rapidly runs away to hide, as if this is a rather shy dram, wanting to hide its true potential. Strangely, after three or four tastes, the wine flavour is building a little on my palate, even becoming quite sweet. But this one you have to entice out. You have to persevere to get any of that hidden potential. Is it worth that effort and time ...... only YOU can decide that when you try it.



Wemyss, Ben Nevis sherry cask, 1990, 46%

Labelled as 'Chocolate plums'

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Slight copper / bronze

Nose: A definite sherry cask from the nose; the plums are indeed climbing the sides of the glass into the nostrils, but so is a combination of malt, old oak and a little marzipan (but just a touch).

Palate: This glides smoothly over the palate, warming with a slight sensation of dark chocolate, but for me there is also a hint of raspberry just as the aftertaste kicks in. This soon fades, but returns to linger quite long on the palate.

Just 2 drops of water: The nose is weakened slightly as the plums are not so rich now. The dark chocolate still dominates on the palate, but with added tingle so I wonder if this could even be chili-chocolate.

Overall Impression: I do like this whisky, it has a good feel on the palate as well as being what I would call solid and interesting.



Cooper's Choice, Ben Nevis, 12y, 1996, 46%

Sherry Cask

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich oak

Nose: Pungent with baby vomit, oak and even a hint of weak red wine. It improves after some minutes in the glass as more wood appears and the baby vomit seems to have been cleaned up with antiseptic cream. Eventually hints of sandalwood develop.

Palate: Altogether light and faint with sandalwood and something reminding me of red cherries and apple, but not quite.

: Medium to long

Overall Impression: Indistinctive and eminently forgettable, unless you count baby vomit being cleaned up by antiseptic cream(?)



Whisky Fδssle, Ben Nevis, 1997-2008, 56.2%

Bourbon Cask

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Extremely pale

Nose: Very lightly perfumed hay or grasses with a suggestion of oak, but all very light and fading quickly.

Palate: Very smooth and creamy mouth-feel with a light fruitiness and vanilla, maybe even a suggestion of popcorn.

: Long

Overall Impression: Interesting, quite aromatic and light but fading quickly.




  Ben Nevis (single grains)  

Please let me know if you hear of any Ben Nevis single grain expressions available to sample as I may be interested!








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