Google Highland Pairs West Coast Vs East Coast

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

May 5, 2018




Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Highland Pairs: West Coast Vs East Coast...
Haven’t you heard? Totally meaningless competitions are all the rage in whisky these days. Which is the greater distillery: Teaninich or Ben Nevis? Finally, with this ultimate deciding tasting battle we will settle this great debate for all of time...


Ben Nevis 21 yo 1996/2018 (47.5%, Thompson Bros., refill sherry butt, 436 bottles) Ben Nevis 21 yo 1996/2018 (47.5%, Thompson Bros., refill sherry butt, 436 bottles)
Colour: Gold. Nose: Bags of toffee at first. Golden caster sugar, apples stewed in butter, touches of flaked almonds, pastries and freshly baked breads. Then this familiar Ben Nevis fruitiness that seems particularly present in these later 1990s vintages. Lots of wet grains, fresh cereals and wonderful autolytic and honeyed notes. Beautiful! Mouth: camphory, lots of olive oil, lemon barley water and crystalised tropical fruits. Mandarin liqueur, banana bread, clove rock and a kind of prickly minerality. Finish: Long and resinously fruity. Lots of bread, some green banana notes, pineapple cubes and warm peppery note. Comments: One of a number of totally fantabulous Ben Nevis that have been appearing at the moment if you ask me. Well selected by those curious Cromarty distillers.
SGP: 651 - 91 points.


Ben Nevis 19 yo 1997/2018 (57.1%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #78.41 ‘A real sherry monster’. Refill oloroso butt. 726 bottles) Ben Nevis 19 yo 1997/2018 (57.1%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #78.41 ‘A real sherry monster’. Refill oloroso butt. 726 bottles)
Colour: Light amber. Nose: Gooey chocolate and damp earth, with an overall impression of density and thickness which I find common to Ben Nevis. Leather, cured meats, smoked tea, waxes and this other Ben Nevis-esque character of overripe green and tropical fruits. Also some hessian. With water: Still lots of this fleshy, overripe fruit with geraniums, vase water, lemon peel and a rising sootiness. Mouth: A touch of rubber but also orange liqueur, maraschino cherry syrup, bitter chocolate, cola cubes and a little ointment. Although the rubbery side starts to become a little too much for me I have to say. Goes on with game, struck matches and peanut oil. With water: some burnt wood, olive oil and black pepper. Overall cleaner with water, moving more towards wet earth and crushed ferns. Some wood spice and a touch of pomegranate molasses. Finish: Long, sooty and earthy with a wee rubbery kiss at the end. Comments: A slightly muddled and muddling dram. The distillate is clearly excellent but I feel the sherry cask lets it down slightly with these intermittent rubbery notes. Water is certainly obligatory here. Having said that, it’s still overall very good Ben Nevis in my books.
SGP: 462 - 85 points.


Teaninich 33 yo 1983/2018 (46%, Berry Bros, hogshead, cask #6739)

Teaninich 33 yo 1983/2018 (46%, Berry Bros, hogshead, cask #6739)
Colour: Light gold. Nose: it’s this rather enticing and thrilling aroma of well matured highland malt whisky that you can only get with delicate wood and time. Waxes, banana chips, light cereals, a touch of white pepper, overripe pears and some green apples and gooseberries. You can also add yellow wild flowers, hay, a sprinkling of dried herbs and some good olive oil. Harmonious and still beautifully fresh. Mouth: the texture is rather light but there’s this sense of spiced honey and creamy butterscotch with warm toffee apples, more waxiness and some delicately mineral notes of chalk and pebbles. Some old ink as well. Gets increasingly spicy in a delightfully warming way with time. Finish: Good length with a crisp dryness and lots of cereals, graphite and mineral oil. Comments: Teaninich isn’t a name which sets too many hearts alight but some of these early 80s ones are really lovely after 30 or so years of slow maturation.
SGP: 451 - 90 points.



Teaninich 1983 32 yo (50.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #59.54, ‘Elegant, class and simply beautiful’. Refill hogshead, 186 bottles) Teaninich 32 yo 1983 (50.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, #59.54, ‘Elegant, class and simply beautiful’. Refill hogshead, 186 bottles)
Colour: Gold. Nose: This one is thicker, punchier and more medicinal. Probably the cask strength being an asset here. Although there is this similar profile which teeters around between minerals, spices, waxes and cereals. Perhaps not as fruity as the Berrys but more towards a Clynelishesque waxy / coastal profile - not something we’ll be complaining about. Mouth: beautifully textured and with a layered waxiness. The fruits are more pronounced here as well, lots of lychee, green apple, banana and some spiced sultanas and quince. There’s generally a more crystallised / preserved fruit aspect to this one. Again gets spicier with time but the wood is never too loud. Finish: Again a medium-long finish full of crisp malt, some saltiness, a few crystallised citrus fruits and then warming notes of nutmeg and earl grey tea. Comments: It’s extremely hard to pick between these two really excellent Teaninich. I think we’ll play it safe and go with the same score. Terrific whisky, budget Clynelish in a similar way that Glen Ord from the same vintages can be.
SGP: 362 - 90 points.


Overall conclusions... inconclusive. Tune in next week for the ultimate ultimate tasting smackdown... (perhaps not).  







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