About This Dram
I’ve been excited about this one for a while now – and it’s finally finally here! This is a special release that is exclusive to BC and Alberta, from the folks at Rare Drams. It’s a Morrison & Mackay Carn Mor bottling of a young peaty whisky matured entirely in sherry casks. Does that sound familiar? Well, it probably should, as we’ve now had two of these and they were both absolutely incredible. In fact, drams T83 and T70 sit at 11th and 12th place overall with a score of 94.77 and 94.73. They were a Laphroaig and a peated Glenturret. Both rare and interesting yes… but buckle your seatbelts, because this is a stunner. Peated Ben Nevis. Oh yes!
So this may be only half the age of the last two, but that sherry cask must have been one of the most active Pedro Ximenez casks in Scotland! Honestly, I wouldn’t have personally left it in there any longer than the 3-4 years that it spent. It’s an absolute sherry bomb and came out at exactly the right time. You don’t even need to smell or taste it to find this out – the colour gives it all away for free.
Ben Nevis is a stunning coastal highland whisky that sits at the base of the UK’s highest mountain of the same name. It’s long been a whisky geek favourite and independent bottlings are rare and highly sought after. Especially since being bought by NIKKA in 1989, it’s been hard to find even any official bottlings. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one outside of the UK. They specialize in a spirit that is perfect for sherry casks – claiming that the use of brewers yeast and long fermentation times is the difference-maker.
The vast majority of the whisky produced is unpeated, using “Speyside-spec” malted barley. However, once in a blue moon they will distill a mash made with peated barley, made between 30-35ppm – the same level as Lagavulin. This is one of those unicorn distillations and part of a critically acclaimed set of casks that found their way to different independent bottlers and were sold in various markets across the globe. We here in BC are incredibly lucky to be on the receiving end of such a unicorn – and I hope that you are as excited as I am!
This whisky arrived first in Alberta – and took social media by storm, selling out quickly across many stores. It has only just now made it to BC, and we were the very first store here to receive any!
Sherry and spirit in perfect harmony. A rich cacophony of raisins, stewed rhubarb and malt spirit. The fact that it is cask strength is no secret to the nose, but I wouldn’t say it’s as spirity as I would expect from 61.4% and such a young age. Then, beneath the sherry, the peat makes its presence known. A little late to the ball, but dressed to impress. Notes of smoked tropical fruit and bacon waft through the air and make the mouth water.
The palate is essentially the same as the nose at first, but maybe a little sweeter if anything. The smoke is a little more on time, but the incredible PX notes from the cask are leading this dance. The two flavours are seemingly in an intense battle for your attention, but it’s all just part of an exquisitely choreographed ballroom scene. The drama of the whole thing might be a little too much – and water is your friend if you’re having trouble with the volume. After all, this is a feisty young thing. Would I drink again? Absolutely. Will I horde a few bottles away in my closet like a mad squirrel protecting their nuts? Maybe. Well, actually, probably.