Spirit of the Highlands (Ben Nevis 49yo spirit)

Bought: Whisky Broker, 20th April 2015

61.79/100 – Whiskybase (average from 21 member votes)

I like it when an independent bottler tries something different, and this is the case with the Whisky Broker and his release of the ‘underproof’ (29.5%) ‘Spirit of the Highlands’ from the Ben Nevis distillery. The law states that for a spirit to be called whisky it has to be matured for at least 3 years and be a minimum of 40%. The Glenglassaugh distillery released several bottlings as ‘spirit drinks’ rather than ‘whisky’ when they were younger than 3-years-old. But there’s no lack of maturity with this juice from Ben Nevis. Distilled on March 1966, it started its life before England won the world cup, and before I was born!

I always think it’s difficult to rate something that doesn’t fall into a category where you know the rules. Nevertheless, we all know what we like and dislike. Usually with whisky, adding a touch of water can help open up the flavours, but at 29.5%, you don’t want to weaken it any further. Comments on Whiskybase suggest that the nose is good but the taste lets this spirit down. Bitterness prevails mixed with oak juice. I can’t imagine that sucking on an old oak tree would be very pleasant!

Some experienced whisky drinkers mix their whiskies. I’ve seen Ralfy on You Tube do this several times, where he takes a better whisky to enhance a lesser one, or adds a dash of ‘cask strength’ whisky to another that needs a boost of alcohol. Several Whiskybase reviewers mention mixing this 49yo with something else. One uses a Bowmore Tempest (55.1%) and another uses a Ben Nevis 1991 (58%), with good results. I will have to start experimenting!

Ben Nevis 49yo

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