Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Added colouring: No
Owner: Alistair Walker Whisky Company
Official website: www.alistairwalkerwhisky.com
After some time, the double review returns to the blog. This isn’t the first time we have tasted two single casks in a row from Infrequent Flyers, one of my favourite independent bottlers, an today we pour into the glass one after the other a Ben Nevis and a BenRiach.
Ben Nevis 10yo 2011 PX Sherry Finish
Origin: Highlands (Scotland)
Ageing cask: PX sherry finish
Average price: € 130.00
Distilled in 2011 and matured in an ex-Pedro Xìmenez puncheon, this whisky was bottled in 297 bottles and not so easy to find.
When it comes to Ben Nevis, enthusiasts are generally excited. Will this also be the case today?
The colour is amber.
On the nose the attack is chocolaty, with milk chocolate and white chocolate joined in aromatic marriage by vanilla with almonds and sage as witnesses and liquorice root playing the organ. In the front row, eggnog, pandoro and marron glacé are smilingly present. As the ritual proceeds, gingerbread and a hint of pipe tobacco join the olfactory celebration, with a balsamic hint that can be traced back to resin communicating a sense of freshness. Salted caramel on the final chant.
On the palate, orange peel enters the scene, matching salted caramel in an enveloping embrace for the mouth, a natural consequence of Ben Nevis’ characteristic oily body. Eggnog and almonds return from the nose, joined by dried figs and yellow apple. As on the nose, no alcohol content.
An impression of walnut and toffee open the door to a long and pleasant finish on notes of salted caramel and toffee, again.
The contribution of the former PX cask is very evident both on the nose and palate, in a splendid drink which, at a glance, should be very pleasing to both the many admirers of Ben Nevis and the fans of Alistair Walker, because it doesn’t distort the deeper essence of the distillate and deepens its taste dimension.
BenRiach 11yo 2011 Ruby Port Finish
Origin: Speyside (Scotland)
Ageing cask: Ex-Ruby Port finish
Average price: € 95.00
The year of distillation is the same as Ben Nevis, 2011. The ageing period is different, however: eleven years, with a finish in an ex-Ruby port cask. Outturn of 703 bottles still available, for Infrequent Flyers release no. 90.
The colour is again amber, but this time with bright highlights.
On the nose, the first impression is of balsamic vinegar, followed by a curious ensemble of pepper, salted caramel, unripe fig, almond and date, with an undertone of strawberry yoghurt and short pastry. After several minutes, a hint of vanilla.
On the palate, as with the Ben Nevis, the alcohol content is not at all arrogant. After an intense woody reminiscence, yellow orange, salted caramel, pepper and toffee impose themselves, with a passage of Rossana candy and a touch of nuts, before a decidedly long and slightly bitter finish, although inhabited mainly by hints of caramel and toffee.
The meeting of titans – the distinct personality of BenRiach’s distillate and the influence of the ex-Port cask – gives rise to an intense, balanced whisky that is not always easy to decipher, but on balance original. After all, the dram is also sometimes asked not to be overly predictable…