Review: Ben Nevis, 1998 Lady of the Glen

Ben Nevis LotG

Ben Nevis – 16yo 1998 Lady of the Glen

(Distilled 3/12/98, sherry hogshead #1407, 273 bottles, 52.1%)

I tend to think of Ben Nevis as a naughty distillery: sometimes it’s clean and fruity, sometimes dirty and funky, sometimes a bit peaty and maritime. Sometimes it’s floral and almost soapy, sometimes oddly metallic. Who knows what you’ll get when you crack open a bottle? Perhaps we could ask Hector McDram?

Nose: Intensely sweet and fudgy, with loads of butter. Toffee with sherry sulphur. There’s a sweet leatheriness from the sherry cask, and also some savoury notes: ham (which isn’t atypical for sherried whiskies) and cheese (which is). Maybe a grilled ham and cheese sandwich on buttered brioche? I told you it’s naughty. There’s some orange after a while – with some salty preserved or pickled lemons? – and a creamy strawberry thing happening. Strawberry Mini-Milk.
Taste: It’s huge, hot and sulphurous. Blood oranges and bitter chocolate. Prunes soaked in something filthy. Fudge and burnt honey. Cassia and cloves.
Finish: It gets fruitier. Charred lemons, over-ripe banana and pineapple. Blackcurrant cordial reduced down to a sticky lump. That cheese is back, with some pink peppercorns. A long finish fading on a very salty liquorice note, always a plus in my book.

This is – let’s be frank – very badly behaved whisky. It’s also enormous fun. If your palate is feeling a bit jaded then here’s something to pep you up – just try and be bored drinking this. Not for whisky newcomers¬†though (if you still think Glenlivet is exciting this’ll take the top of your head off), or for anyone sensitive to a bit of sherry sulphur. Otherwise: enjoyable, bonkers, unique. Sl√†inte mhath, Hector McDram.

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