Quick review: Ben Nevis 23yo batch 10 TBWC

Behind the thirteenth window of That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s 2019 Advent Calendar we will be reviewing each day until the 24th of December was hidden a quite promising Ben Nevis 23yo batch 10 single malt , bottled at 48% abv by that Boutique-y Whisky Company. “Long” John McDonald founded the Ben Nevis Distillery in 1825 near the biggest mountain of UK on the outskirts of Fort William, in the Western Highlands.

In 1878, a second distillery, “Nevis”, was built nearby and both merged into one 30 years later. However, Nevis was closed as the demand was lower than before, and Donald sold the distillery to Ben Nevis Distillery Ltd, headed by a Canadian millionaire named Joseph W. Hobbs, in 1941. In 1955 Hobbs installed a Coffey still allowing to produce both grain and malt whisky at the distillery. Ben Nevis fell silent in 1978 but went active again after a well needed refurbishment in 1981 when it was bought by the appropriately named Long John International. In 1989, Nikka bought Ben Nevis, as they were already buying malt and grain for their blends. Now, at least 75% of Ben Nevis’ new make production is sent to Japan to be used in Nikka’s Black blend. This Ben Nevis 23yo batch 10 TBWC can be found on Master of Malt for £169.95.

Ben Nevis 23yo batch 10 TBWC photo
The Ben Nevis bottle, courtesy of Master of Malt.


Sauternes. A swirl clings to the glass a thousand years or so before slow thin legs decide to fall against the glass.

The dram in the Christmas tree
Isn’t that a pretty decoration for the Christmas tree?


Coldorak: Pineapple with sirup, vanilla, and caramel at first. There is also coffee, malty notes and smoked meat. Lots of fruits with oranges, apples and clementine. Water brings a slight note of citrus to the nose.

Ainulindalë: On the nose, a bit of ginger and cinnamon and slightly gamey smoke. A background of plum. A bit hard to discern.

Ben Nevis 23yo in the glass
A nice golden colour in the glass.


Coldorak: A nice thick mouthfeel, with a spicy and fruity arrival. Ginger and a sweet and sour feeling. Pineapples from the nose are here, with some coffee and toffee, hazelnut and nutmeg. Very good. With reduction, the mouthfeel is creamier and the palate gets fruitier, the ginger staying present but a bit toned down. Delicious.

Ainulindalë: The smoke on the mouth is like a greasy bonfire over which meat’s cooking. After it come a very strong orange taste, and a gingery overtone, even though the smoke is quite overpowering.


Coldorak: It’s long with the warmth of the spices, the bitterness of grapefruit and an earthy feeling.

Ainulindalë: The finish is very short, hard as a cliff, on ashes.


Coldorak: This Ben Nevis a quite good. Maybe not as great as I hoped, but veeery good nonetheless. Very fruity with spices not overpowering, a good mouthfeel and a long lasting finish, it’s a good one. Slightly expensive (you can find other Ben Nevis that old on 70cl bottles for the same kind of money), but compared to the Speyburn and the Longmorn of the previous couple days, it’s okay here.

Ainulindalë: This one is interesting as the nose and the mouth kind of sit apart. The finish is a bit disappointing as it’s not really there. If it had a better finish I’d have bumped the note quite a bit.


Coldorak: 88/100

Ainulindalë: 82/100

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