About this blog:

This blog will feature tasting notes, reviews, distillery visits and whisky news with focus mainly on Scottish single malts. This will sometimes be accompanied by politically incorrect (whisky) opinions. You have now been warned! :-)
The views expressed here are entirely my own, unless otherwise stated.

Monday, 6 October 2014


Ben Nevis Distillery is one of the last working West Coast (mainland) distilleries left in Scotland.
Located on the outskirts of Fort William below the highest mountain in the UK (1344m) with the same name.

The distillery is carries it own distinct style, which this blogger never has been taken by... Ben Nevis has released some bottling from the early 70's that has received much acclaim in parts of the whisky community, I've tried a couple but even those haven't really been favourites of mine.

It was then with much anticipation I had a dram of this at a private function last month as I already had my Ben Nevis alarm going off when I saw the tasting lineup for the function and I pretty much decided that at some point there has to come along a Ben Nevis that will cater to my taste.

The whisky I'll be reviewing this time is an attempt from Ben Nevis to try and recreate the style of whisky from back when the distillery was started in the late 1800s. Carrying the name of the Distillery's founder, John McDonald, this bottling has gotten good reviews in several places already, let's see how it fares landing on this bloggers palate....

Ben Nevis Distiller, October 15th 2009 © The Malt Desk
McDonald's Traditional Ben Nevis 46%, Distillery bottling

Colour is light amber

Straight out of a newly opened bottle there's.... cheese!! and I'm not much of a cheese eater, especially not the strong stuff this one reeks of. I'd pretty much decided to fail this whisky right here and then but decided to try and give it 10min in the glass before returning to it. 10mins later the cheese is gone (thank you!) and instead there's peat, ozone, sherry as in dried fruit, oranges, slight burnt toffee and, in general, quite a heavy feel to the nose.

Spicy, wood chips, nutty, peat on the mid palate and finish and with a brackish feel to the whole thing. Mid palate you get a citrus fruit coating to live things up only for it to quickly return to some metallic notes along with the peat, fruit muesli mix with dried fruits and oak bitterness.

Allright... except for the cheese hit straight out of the bottle, this is actually a pretty nice dram, although this is maybe not a style I'd actively seek out - a bit like some (most) Glen Scotias.

Finally, thanks to JH for putting this on the table at his whisky get-together


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