Ben Nevis 24, 1991 (Signatory)


Here is the second of three Ben Nevis 1991s this week. Like Monday’s 22 yo, this 24 yo was bottled by Signatory from a sherry butt. I loved the 22 yo—will this one be as good? Let’s see.

Ben Nevis 24, 1991 (55.7%; Signatory; sherry butt 3834; from a sample from a friend)

Nose: A very obvious relative of the 22 yo but here the roasted malt and nutty notes are on top of the citrus (which is brighter/more acidic: lime). On the second sniff the citrus is muskier (makrut lime peel) and here’s the powdered ginger too now. Continues in this vein. A few drops of water and there’s a big hit of citronella and then the fruit begins to get first sweeter and then savoury: peach nectar laced with lime juice and a bit of salt.

Palate: The citrus is even more tropical here as the makrut lime peel is joined by over-ripe pineapple and tart mango. The roasted malt is here too as is quite a lot of white pepper. Just lovely. Very nice texture and highly approachable at full strength—though I’m sure this is going to sing with a bit of water (I’ll wait a bit though). Maltier and muskier with each sip and some smouldering leaves join the party as well. A medicinal note too with time: not phenolic, more like old medicine bottles along with some yeast. The fruit keeps expanding as it sits. Okay, it’s been more than an hour; time to add water. More straightforwardly citrussy with water as the malt takes a backseat.

Finish: Long. No new development—all the stuff from the palate slowly eases out. The pepper has the last word. As on the palate with water.

Comments: Another excellent, very Ben Nevisy Ben Nevis. As with Monday’s 22 yo the sherry influence is quite discreet here, letting the distillery’s freaky, fruity flag fly. Another one that rewards time and patience. I liked the nose better with water and the palate better neat. It hurts me to say this—as this one I do not have a bottle of—but I like this a little better than the 22 yo.

Rating: 91 points.

Thanks to Michael for the sample.

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