Ben Nevis 20 Years - 1996 for K&L Wines

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16840
Ben Nevis
Scotland, Highlands
Single Malt Whisky
20 Years
Oct 1996
Nov 2016
51.7%
0.75 l
Douglas Laing
Old Particular
Hogshead Refill
DL11534
264 Bottles
Chill filtration - Without Artifical colouring - Without
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unknown user
05. Feb 2017
Anemic malt, sour barrel.

Despite my highest respect for K&L, one needs to beware of their superlative descriptions.

Unfortunately, it is immediately apparent that this was a "rushed" distillate put into a "sour" barrel. The nose is dominated by a strong Ethyl-Acetate; so strong in fact that it is not your usual "glue" character, but the much stronger "nail polish"/Acetone note. Side by side are pungent fusel alcohols which not even 20 years have tamed. Some musty malt complexity is in the background, occasionally suggesting some fruit. At least there is no obnoxious sulfur.

The palate is inoffensive, neither hot nor harsh, but far from rich or sweet. Gentle maltiness in general. Water emphasizes cask bitterness that is otherwise well disguised. Textbook example of a light malt aged in an "inactive" barrel.
Finish is medium, very subtle due to the overall character.

It is reminiscent (in concept and form) of the Bruichladdich 16 year Sauternes cask, without achieving its richness.
unknown user
03. Mar 2017
With lots of time in the open bottle, the Ethyl-Acetate recedes enough to make the dram much more approachable. There is a feeble "canned apricots in syrup" note and a slightly eggy, custardy confectionary aroma. The other complexities, especially the hint of smoke and rancio, have unfortunately faded.

It remains a challenge to find a "sweet spot" for drinking, as the "youthful" alcohol character persists and can be exacerbated at varying dilutions. This bottling can take a lot of water, and an ideal drinking experience may contain 30-50% of added water - quite remarkable.