Valinch & Mallet Hidden Casks Collection Ben Nevis 19 Year (1999)

Scotch Whisky Review #336: Valinch & Mallet Hidden Casks Collection Ben Nevis 19 Year (1999)

Distillery: Valinch & Mallet.

Region: Highland.

Age: 19 Year. Distilled in 1999. Bottled in 2018.

ABV: 51.7%. Cask Strength.

Cask Type: Bourbon Hogshead.

Color: 1.6, Mahogany/Henna Notes. Natural Color and Non-Chill Filtered.

Nose: It’s quite….cheesy. First notes I got where of fresh ricotta cheese, still warm, or of milk starting to curdle because you’ve left it over heat for too long. Once you get past the cheese, there’s a yeasty/bready note. It reminds me of a certain flavor of bagel, but I can’t quite place it. There’s a light bit of earthiness as well.

Palate: There’s a bit of heat, but not unpleasant amounts of it. It’s fairly sweet. Malt leads the way followed notes of by toffee and chocolate. Some leather comes in towards the back. With a bit of water added, it gets a touch sweeter. Fruit jam on fresh toasted bread comes through as does more of the toffee and some caramel. The earthiness and chocolate notes combine to result in something that reminds me a lot of chocolate covered espresso beans.

Finish: Long. More of the fresh bread note comes through. Leather and chocolate covered espresso beans linger for quite a while.

Conclusion: Considering how badly the only other Valinch & Mallet bottling I had went, I was more than touch worried that this would go completely wrong as well. The nose had me the most worried, with a strong fresh cheese note coming through instantly. Thankfully, it plays well with the rest of the notes here and the folks at V&M have picked out a very pleasant and tasty Ben Nevis. It’s a nice mix of breadiness and sweet treats with a dash of earthiness, the chocolate covered espresso bean notes in particular fantastic. Would I buy a bottle? Probably.

Final Score: 85.

Scotch Whisky Review #336, Highland Review #63, Whisky Network Review #481

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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