Ben Nevis 2013 (Signatory Vintage)

“Dirty Work”

Whisky Review # 1027

Country: Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Region: Western Highlands
Brand: Ben Nevis - Distilled: 17-10-2013
Bottled By: Signatory Vintage SWC Ltd, Pitlochry on 19-11-2021
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Casks # 426 & 430 - Bottle: # 441
Age: 8 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Refill Hogsheads
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Price Range: US$ 40-45 (July 2024)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😑 Okay I suppose but not worth buying
Buying Advice: 😡 Unpleasant is such a nice British understatement!


Pale White Wine (Natural Color)


Young, Light, Raw, Funky and, frankly, not very pleasant. New Make Spirit mixed with Metal parts. Rotting Fruit/Vegetables. It's been a while since I nosed anything like this. Please give it enough time in the glass to be able to spot some slightly more conventional Aromas as well. The Alcohol is not integrated at all.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Margarine, Grass, Green Apple, Sour Berries & Yellow Prunes, Pear, Lubricant, Plastic, Cabbage, Dirty Smoke and Soot, Nuts and Nutshells, Overripe Banana, Musty Oak, Cheese, Licorice, Milk Chocolate and Aniseed.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Nectarine, Orange, Rubber, Rusty Metal, Chalk, Dirty Earth, Herbal Tea, Wet Rocks, Leather, Tobacco, Pepper and Ginger.


Young, Thin, Harsh, Unfinished. The Raw Alcohol is King here. The label states that this is a Ben Nevis but if it would have stated "Cheap Blend" I would have believed it as well. I can't understand that Signatory Vintage would see fit to bottle this Single Malt at this point in time.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Grass, Dirty Smoke and Ashes, Grass, Sour Green Apple, Grapefruit, Mirabelle Plums and Berries, Nut-Shells, Musty Oak, Licorice, Aniseed and Pepper.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Wax, Pear, Nectarine, Unripe Banana, Citrus Peel, Metal, Wet Stones, Wax and Chalk, Milk Chocolate, Fish Oil, Stale Black Coffee, Cinnamon and Ginger.


On the Short Side and quite Thin. Some Sweet notes initially but with increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. The harsh Alcohol is very present at this point. I find Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, slightly Sour Apples, Mirabelle Plums, Grapefruit & Berries, light Factory Smoke, Dirty Earth, Nut Shells, Fish Oil, Yeast, Musty Oak, Licorice, Grass, Metal, Cinnamon and Pepper.

Drinking Advice:

Due to the size of the sample I only tasted this Ben Nevis neat.

Rating: 5.5 (*****1/2)

Nose: 5.5 - Taste: 5.5 - Finish: 5

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

If the Final score is 8 or higher you can safely buy the whisky in question if and when it fits your Aroma/Flavor profile. If the score is between 6 and 8 you might want to try it out in the form of a sample or if offered at a good price. Anything below 6 should be left alone when you are looking for a nice sipping whisky. You might still like it of course & I realize pricing is an important item for many whisky fans especially when you are used to enjoy whisky in a cocktail or a mixed drink.

Drinking Experience Neat: Unpleasant

Ben Nevis Distillery was founded in 1825 by Long John MacDonald and is located at the foot of the famous Ben Nevis Mountain, close to Fort William (Inverness-Shire). Since 1989 it is owned by the Nikka Whisky Distilling Co.Ltd (Asahi Breweries). Some of its Malt is used in Blends like Dew of Ben Nevis, Glencoe and some Japanese Blends. The annual production currently amounts to around 2 million liters.

I have reviewed a few Signatory Vintage expressions in the last few months and I was not overly enthusiastic about them. But this the worst of them all by far. This Ben Nevis is Too Young, Thin and Harsh and presents various funky off-notes. It should not have been bottled this way. I like Ben Nevis as they are usually not as mainstream as many other distilleries today. But this SV expression should be left alone. Maybe it's a good idea to bury the remaining bottles deep below Mount Ben Nevis and open them in 50 years or so. Who knows!

Cheers 🥃

Jan van den Ende                                                                          July 11,2024

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