Ben Nevis 21 1996 Cadenhead Single Cask

Ben Nevis 21 1996 Cadenhead 2.jpg

Thanks to /u/devoz for pouring me a sample while everyone else drank wine.

I’m not a wine drinker. And previous to this, I offered to pour a sample to review for a friend. Now that it’s done, and wine’s wasted on me, and the board games are flowing, it’s time to have something I’ve been looking forward to.

Ben Nevis was purchased in the past few decades. Prior to 1996 drams from Ben Nevis were known for being hit or miss. Nothing in between. Oh, and it’s beloved by the Japanese. Not in that freaky “there’s an adult cartoon about it and no one can talk about it for fear of breaking the comfortable silence” way.

At least not that I’ve run into.

Suffice to say when the new owners found a way to make the good stuff all the time and it quickly became a thing, we’ve had multiple casks pop up recently and all whisky fans are foaming at the mouth for it.

This brings us to Ben Nevis 21 1996 Cadenhead Single Cask, a single cask ex-bourbon whisky from the now famous (or infamous if you were looking forward to less expensive Ben Nevis releases forever) year of the change.

But that’s just what I’ve heard: I still need to review these myself. I trust the people who passed along the above, and heard enough from reviewers I read. Now it’s time to really test it out (something you should all be doing, comparing your reviews to ones you read to find someone whose tastes align with you).

So let’s get to it, shall we?

Ben Nevis 21 1996 Cadenhead 1.jpg

Price: N/A at the LCBO

Region: Highland

Vintage: 1996

Bottled: January 3rd, 2018

Stated Age: 21-years-old

Cask Type: Bourbon Hogshead

Number of Bottles: 210

Abv: 52.9%

Colour: 7.5Y 9/8

Nose: Butterscotch pudding, banana cream pie, red Sambuca, Shandy

Immediate strong creamy caramel/brown sugar thing going on. More sweets with time. Eventually, I’ll be taken down by Willy Wonka, just not yet.

Banana notes, anise/red raspberry with some of the alcohol, and water brings out a lemon/hoppy note. Thus water is adding some balance to that sweet shop.

Taste: Raspberry, guava, lemongrass, caramel, banana bread

More raspberry, but now there’s more of a tropical balanced view to this. Water this time brings out banana, so if that’s not something you’re a fan of, it may turn you off.

On the other hand, we do get a more herbal balance here. So perhaps there are enough caramel and grain notes to bring you back to the banana people. Join the republic.

Wait, that may not mean what I meant it to.

Finish: Grapefruit, Fruity Pebbles, honey, citra hops, vanilla, ginger

More tart at first. Then the sweet/cereal side starts really ramping up again. Not to mention that may turn you off, especially if you’re looking for balance.

Me? Look I go near light every so often, thus seeing my shadow, thus seeing my silhouette, and ipso facto, I know I like sugar. Water starts the balance game again: More orange/fruitiness, vanilla, and ginger notes.

Conclusion: Sugar forward, sugar-heavy, sugar heaven for me. Personally, I like sweets, as you’ll see from my jokes above. This is a brash sugar forward dram. If you like desserts then it’s an easy buy and an easy love for after dinner.

However, for the rest of you healthy life loving “people”, there’s something here for you too. Water balances it out with cereal, floral, and even some funk part way through. If you’re a hops fan it’s in there too with some of that grassiness and orange.

So something for everybody. 2 for 2, but more to come with time.


Scotch review #1043, Highland review #175, Whisky Network review #1629

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