Ben Nevis The Duchess 10 Years Old Shiraz Finish Cask 1800020 56.7% 2010
€ 100,01 (in Vat)
|Serie||Game and wildlife series|
|Cask Type||Shiraz Cask Finish|
Words of Whisky:
Mostly classic Ben Nevis with the added red fruits and heightened viscosity from the wine cask.
Opens up on some rather classic Ben Nevis dirtiness, which I always liken to copper coins and a certain sourness. A touch of white pepper as well, followed by a tinge of red berries and lychees. Finally a whiff of cooked apples.
Some peppery heat on the arrival accompanied by peanut skins and almond oil, as well as a tinge of shoe polish, biscuits and charred oak, followed by some strawberry ice cream.
Sour touches with a pinch of spiciness and red fruits. Ending on apple peels.
Serge Valentin (87)
Ducks are fashionable these days, but shiraz? Well, it's true that Ben Nevis could take just anything, so why not shiraz?… Colour: apricotty. Nose: starts steely, with some soot and some copper (old coins), yoghurt, sour cherries, then we have fresh concrete and damp gravel. It's just been raining… Chrome polish, pu-her tea. There's often pu-her in Ben Nevis. With water: leather, tobacco, and more sour cherries, with wee hints of truffle and fumes in the background. Mouth (neat): quite a lot of pepper and chilli sauce, with this chutney-y character, pickled fruits, bitters, some tar and a little rubber… Well I'm sure you could make some high-class spritz out of this one. Please pass the bottle of champagne… Rather fat body. With water: gets gentler, fruitier, with rather more red berry jams. What we call an 'old bachelor's jam'. Touch of mead and stout, fifty-fifty. Finish: rather long, reminding me of that cherry jam they make in Itxassou, in the French Basque country. Goes well with hard cheese. Comments: clearly something else, a tad dissonant here and there. Thelonious Monk's own Scotch? Love Thelonious Monk, so
Contrary to my normal modus operandi, I’m actually ahead in tasting this whisky. Of course that is no coincidence, since the release of this review was more or less requested to be a little ahead of the actual release of the whisky. (Happy to oblige!)
Ben Nevis has been on a winning streak the last couple of years. So has The Duchess. Even so, my instinctive apprehension kicked in when I heard this was going to be a wine cask. This happened, quite obviously, because wine casks tend to be not-so-good at best.
Of course there are exceptions, but those confirm the rule instead of change it. So, a 10 year old one, from a red wine cask… But then again, it’s from The Duchess and they have been creating name for themselves to be a high quality bottler. Not unlike WhiskyNerds and Wu-Dram Clan.
So, let’s dive in and see where this one sits!
Lots of barley with brioche toast. Red fruits like strawberries and cherries, a whiff of hessian and dunnage warehouses.
The palate brings quite some chili heat, with roasted barley, bitter almonds and dried red fruits. Toasted oak, black pepper, strawberry juice, a whiff or rhubarb.
The finish is a bit richer, weightier. With red fruits, hessian, brioche.
Well, apart from me liking this quite a bit, it’s interesting to analize what’s happening. Because based on the flavors I encountered when tasting this, I would have guessed this to be a port cask if I would have tasted it blind. It’s not as light as a Shiraz would suggest.
Another benefit of that is it lacks the tannins often accompanying wine cask finished whisky. It’s not an overly dry whisky, and it doesn’t have the typical wine cask astringency. There’s a lot of fruit and brioche notes that give it just enough sweetness, and just enough depth.
A very good wine cask finished dram, this is!