The Ben Nevis 14 was the 4th Total Wine and More Exclusive Cask we tried that night and it was pretty good. To be honest my exposure to Ben Nevis has been limited and I only have 1 drink a few years back, but no notes, to compare it to. It’s a Highland scotch like Dalmore and Oban, but it has a character all it’s own.
Located at the base of Scotland’s tallest mountain (Ben Nevis) the Nikka owned distillery really has only 2 main bottlings that it regularly puts out (10 & 21). One interesting fact about the distillery is that from 1955 – 1981 they had a Coffey column still on the premise making it one of the first distilleries to make both single malt and single grain whisky on premise. Both of which were largely sold off to make blended whisky.
Overall its a good whisky, but it had a bit of a balance issue for me, leaning a bit heavy on the sweet, and it came in 6/8 at the tasting. It hits a nice range of floral, fruity and sweet characteristics that get tempered a bit by malt and wood, but I would have liked to have a bit more in there. The sweet characteristics bordered on cloying and could use more wood and malt or even a light peating to act as counterweights and help balance it out a bit more.
Had the Ben Nevis 14 or any other Ben Nevis? Add your own thoughts or notes below.
Ben Nevis 14 Review
Price: $80 (Total Wine and More)
Distiller: Ben Nevis / Nikka
Dark orange / mid caramel
Sweet floral aromas mixed with tropical fruit (particularly mango) and honey candy. It’s bordering on being too sweet but then a bit of wood and pie crust come wafting in and help to shift things around a bit.
The bourbon barrel influence is heavy on the palate with caramel and vanilla coming up right away. The tropical fruit notes from the nose are there but they seem to morph to more of an orchard fruit as they sit on the palate before giving way to some malt, brown sugar and honey. Not much wood influence here, but it could have used it.
Smooth and silken is has a great texture to it and very easy to drink without any water.
A medium finish that does a 180 with the malt kicking up and making itself known before fading out to caramel, vanilla and a sherry like sweetness.
SCORE: NA – I tried this one at a SoCal Whiskey Club tasting but wasn’t able to spend enough time with it to give it a score, but it ranked #6 / 8 for the night.