Ben Nevis 19 year (1996/2016) Cask No 871 45.1%

After two teasing whisky flights of 20 ml each at The Single Cask in Singapore, it was time to have a full and proper dram.

To narrow the choices, I by-passed “smoky” or “sweet” to settle on “salty”… as a contrast to the mostly lighter drams we’d just sampled…

And the choice? A whisky from Ben Nevis distillery bottled by The Single Cask. This distillery joins the lot which were opened then closed and re-opened again – in Ben Nevis case – re-opened in 1991 under the new owners – Nikka.

Ben Nevis 19 year (09.07.1996/16.06.2016) Cask No 871 45.1% Bottle 6 of 68

  • Nose – Salty – not sea breeze but more leather with salty caramel, as it opened up took on a sour curd quality
  • Palate – More chewy, soft spice, character
  • Finish – Bit of smoke and spice, with a nice milk chocolate at the end

A few drops of water brought out the spice and a much longer finish with sweet cinnamon.

Apparently this whisky came from a leaky cask, hence why there were only 68 bottles.

What also makes this out of the ordinary for Ben Nevis is that it was matured in bourbon not sherry casks.

And the best part? It was paired in a truly spectacular fashion with a salty caramel chocolate – locally hand crafted and absolutely the perfect accompaniment!

My earlier whisky flight experiences can be found here:

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Miltonduff 21 year (1995/2016) 45.8%

Just like the Glentauchers, I first flirted with Miltonduff as part of a set of 17 year old Ballantine‘s blends ‘featuring’ variations that focused on exploring the component distilleries.

It was by far our favourite of that quartet and again this ‘lighter touch’ flight at The Single Cask in Singapore too!

Miltonduff 21 year (07.02.1995/22.02.2016) 45.8% Bottle 169

  • Nose – Lovely almond nutty quality, creamy nougat, then a light tobacco chew, a dash of spice and a slightly woodsy element
  • Palate – Much more substance than the other whiskies sampled in the flight – dark dry fruits, chocolate, toffee, well balanced
  • Finish – Yum! With a shifting character between sweet caramel to tobacco then chocolate… Fabulous!

What can I say? I really wish I had more than the mini pour! It was delicious – the kind of whisky that makes you want to sit back, relax and enjoy, slowly sipping and savouring. There is substance, well rounded and while not heavy, there is more than enough going on to keep you interested.

For my sampling companion, there was zero doubt this was the ONLY whisky of the quartet to his palate preferences.

Here’s what the folks over at The Single Cask have to say about this Miltonduff (SG$404.60):

Founded in 1824 and also currently owned and operated by Pernod Ricard, Miltoduff is one of the signature whiskies alongside Glentauchers which plays and important part in shaping the character of the Ballantine’s brand of blended Scotch whisky. The whisky from Miltonduff is also used in the Chivas Regal range.

  • Nose: The most mature of the four. Spicy, dark and woody. A very inviting nose redolent with toffee, glazed red fruit and a touch of cocoa. Charcoal and tannins, a tin of furniture wax.
  • Palate: Lots of thick caramel and red cherries. The dark and spicy theme continues. Rye bread, more char and deeply polished wood. Good mouthfeel.
  • Finish: Luxuriant and rich. Almost a light dessert in itself.

Would I agree? Most certainly!

Related posts:

Sampled as part of a whisky flight at The Single Cask together with:

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Deanston 15 years (1997/2013) Cask No 1958 45.8%

There are some whiskies that if you simply sniff, swish and move on, you may not catch what makes them enjoyable. This Deanston is one of those which initially had quite an unassuming character, yet if you didn’t give it a proper chance, would miss out on a rather companionable dram… it also just so happened to kick of our 2nd Whisky flight with a “lighter touch” at Singapore’s The Single Cask.

Deanston 15 years (1997/2013) Cask No 1958 45.8%

Here is what we found:

  • Nose – A nice honey sweetness, light touch of flowers, vanilla and a ‘green’ grass fresh quality
  • Palate – Initially the impression is of citrus sweetness, then with a bit of cheekiness, it starts to reveal much more character with a bit of light spice, raspberries and vanilla wood
  • Finish – Short, simple and slightly sweet

Overall it is simply a lovely easy drinking whisky. Not complicated, not a show-stopper but one you wouldn’t mind coming back to…

Even when revisited after sampling the other whiskies, there was something simply ‘comfortable’ and ‘comforting’ about this one… and I found myself coming back to it for a final sniff, sip and sigh of happiness.

And here is what the folks over at the Single Cask have to say:

  • Nose: This is a very natural whisky that is added to, but not burdened, by wood influence. We have just enough vanilla pod and bruleed banana that complements the spirit’s masses of estery green fruit. It is on the whole light and exuberant, showing the freshness of green apple peels but is also anchored by malt notes and linseed oil.
  • Palate: The wood has more to say here, with a growing hot spiciness and black pepper. But look past that and find tart berries, pollen and – surprise – lots of lilies.
  • Finish: Vanilla and more charred spiciness linger on.

I certainly didn’t catch any oil or lillies but overall wouldn’t disagree… except for the finish lingering… not in what we experienced but you can also see there wasn’t much left in the bottle! Particularly with lighter whiskies, I find oxidation can be a factor in shifting some elements.

Other Deanston sampling experiences:

This Deanston was sampled as part of a whisky flight at The Single Cask together with:

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A lighter touch… Whisky Flight at The Single Cask

Often when one thinks whisky, what jumps to mind are the sherry bombs, the power packed peat monsters, the salty brine maritime malt, or even a bourbon banana sweet… yet nestled amongst those bold, sometimes brash characters are a subtler lot…

One tends to associate a lighter, slightly sweeter touch with whiskies from the Highlands or  Lowlands… though not necessarily so…

On my 2nd stop to The Single Cask, we picked the featured whisky flight with:

Some of these whiskies are found primarily blends – such as Deanston in Burn Stewart’s blends, the Glentauchers or Miltonduff in Ballantines. Whereas Glen Moray, a neighbour of Glentauchers and Miltonduff, is known for affordable single malts.

What did my sampling companion and I think? Click on the whisky links above and find out!

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“The Whisky Guessing Game” at The Single Cask, Singapore

Having an opportunity to ‘try something different‘ seems to be the hallmark of most whisky aficionados journey. What better way than through bottlers not disclosing the distillery… here follows the tasting notes and speculation from an anonymous Islay whisky flight experienced at The Single Cask in Singapore.

Cask Islay 46%

  • Nose – Citrus smoke, sweet brine
  • Palate – Ash, peat, oily, sense of being a bit sticky, doesn’t travel well
  • Finish – Bitter… makes you want water!

Cask Islay is a small batch release from A.D. Rattray and you can read what they have to say here.

Islay Storm 40%

  • Nose – Softer than the Cask Islay, fresh grass, fruity apples, cereals, barley oat porridge, followed by a nice sweetness
  • Palate – While it didn’t have much body, there was a fresh green dimension and actually quite interesting, warming into vanilla custard with smoke, sweet peat, sea salt, eminently enjoyable
  • Finish – Very nice finish, surprisingly long

The folks behind this bottle is The Vantage Malt Whisky Company and you can read what they have to say about Islay Storm here.

Dun Bheagan Islay 43%

  • Nose – Briney citrus, tannins
  • Palate – Bit of spice, some body, the peat was actually quite balanced
  • Finish – Sweet spice with cinnamon

IanMacLeod Distillers created the Dun Bheagan collection to feature a range of single casks.

Finlaggan Cask Strength 58%

  • Nose – Tar, asphalt, leather, grass, flowers, quite sweet yet also oddly quite shy and mute
  • Palate – Sharp leather, warm balanced evolution
  • Finish – Sweet spice liquor

It may sounds like a contradiction but it was oddly muted and shy – can’t help but suspect the bottle was open too long with oxidation taking its toll.

Again, the folks behind this marvellous dram are The Vantage Malt Whisky Company, with more details about their Finlaggan range available here.

All were interesting. All would be quite affordable in the UK and not pocket destroying in Singapore. I kept coming back to the Islay Storm, whereas my companion was particularly partial to the Finlaggan.

And our guesses?

  • Cask Islay 46% Our guess? Caol Ila
  • Islay Storm 40%? Zero doubt it was Kilchoman… by a mile! And interesting to try at 40%. Sipping it also sparked my companion’s memories of his 1st visit to the distillery
  • Dun Bheagan Islay 43% Most likely a Lagavulin
  • Finlaggan Cask Strength 58% Probably a Laphroaig

If anyone can prove or disprove any of our speculations – would love to hear!

So there we have it… a wee whisky flight and a most enjoyable evening in Singapore.

The Single Cask is located at 01-25 Chijmes Caldwell House, 30 Victoria Street, Singapore 187996 / info@thesinglecask.sg / +65 6837 0953.

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The Single Cask, Singapore

Let’s face it – whisky in Singapore is expensive. However the range of spirits available vs  my other usual haunts like Jakarta and Mumbai, makes it a favourite spot to try something new and typically pick up an overpriced bottle or two.

So I’m also always seeking out another “watering hole” to whet my whistle and expand my tasting horizons…

Enter The Single Cask at Chjimes…

My whisky tasting companion and I were considering a few different whisky flights, veering towards something lighter and more nuanced. We riffled through page after page of suggested flights and whisky options. Our eyes wandered over the shelves displaying whiskies from near and far.

Then our friendly neighbourhood fellow whisky blogger cum bartender (Brendan Pillai of WhiskyMate) brought out a Bruichladdich Port Charlotte trio for a sniff! Immediately our mood shifted to a peatier predilection…

Our attention was captured by a particular Islay flight that contained names new to us. Now, lest you think any of these are distilleries, these are independent bottlers selecting casks from Islay distilleries, keeping the original whisky unspoken.

This seems to be a growing trend to keep promiscuous single malt drinkers engaged! Tease them without telling the distillery so they are tempted to try and the guess! Yeah… we fell for it too… I like to call it it the “Whisky Guessing Game!

What did we try? Check out what ultimately caught our fancy

The Single Cask is located at 01-25 Chijmes Caldwell House, 30 Victoria Street, Singapore 187996 / info@thesinglecask.sg / +65 6837 0953

PS – They also have an online store and no, this was NOT a sponsored post! 🙂

Other Singapore whisky joints:

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