61.8% LAST BOTTLE AND EMPTY SINGLE CASK SCOTCH MALT WHISKY Date distilled Dec 84 Date bottled Sept 99 The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh Code 78.25 van The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh. 'Paints and sultanas'
21 years old
60,5 % Distilled 1974 Bottled 1995 182 bottles Ben Nevis Distillery (Fort William) Limited
26 years old
INFO Distilled 1973 Cask Nos 355 & 356 Bottled 1999 400 bottles Ben Nevis Distillery (Fort William) Limited
26 years old
Ben Nevis Distillery
(Fort William) Limited
16 years old
60,8% CADENHEAD'S AUTHENTIC COLLECTION Cask Strenght Distilled December 1977 Bottled December 1993 No colouring Not diluted No chill filtration Wm. Cadenhead, 32 Unionstreet, Campbeltown
10 years old
LAST BOTTLE AND EMPTY THISTLE COLLECTION Distilled 22.10.92 Cask No. 3313 Bottled October 2002 Non chill filtered Thistle, Holland
9 years old
58.8 % INFO SINGLE CASK SCOTCH MALT WHISKY Date distilled Jun 91 Date bottled Oct 00 Society Cask No. code 78.30 Outturn 234 bottles The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh 'Aero Vaseline and grapefruit'
TEN YEARS OLD
INFO Proprietors Ben Nevis Distillery (Fort William) Limited. Lochy Bridge, Fort William The Journey of the Water of Life.
36 years old
50 % THE OLD MALT CASK 50o Single Cask Bottling Distilled December 1964 Bottled March 2001 156 bottles No Chill Filtration No Colouring Douglas Laing & Co, Ltd, Glasgow
26 years old
50,3 % LAST BOOTLE AND EMPTY Distilled 1973 Bottled 1999 Cask No. 717 233 bottles Ben Nevis Distillery (Fort William) Limited
35 years old
INFO HART BROTHERS´ FINEST SELECTION CASK STRENGHT A Rare Vintage Bottling Distilled April 1967 Matured in Sherry wood Bottled 2002 Hart Brothers Limited
26 years old
53,2 % Distilled in 1973 Cask No. 750 Bottled in 1999 Ben Nevis Distillery (Fort William) Limited
26 years old
53,9% SINGLE HIGHLAND MALT SCOTCH WHISKY Distilled in 1975 Cask No. 945 Bottled in 2001 237 bottles Genummerde flessen Ben Nevis Distillery (Fort William) Limited
over 39 years old
INFO Vintage Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky HART BROTHERS FINEST COLLECTION EDITION SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG MAGAZIN Brenndatum: März 1966 Fass: Sherry Butt Fassnummer: 1775 Abfülldatum: Oktober 2005 Anzahl der Flaschen: 180 Nummerierte Flaschen Nicht kühl- gefiltert Whisky Abfuller: Hart Brothers Ltd, Glasgow
13 years old
INFO DOUBLE WOOD MATURED PORT WOOD FINISH Single West Highland Malt Whisky CASK STRENGHT Distilled on 9th November 1990 Filled into refill hogsheads Transferred into a port bodega butt number 03/10/01 on 12th February 2003 Bottled 10th March 2004 800 Numbered Bottles Ben Nevis Distillery (Fort William) Ltd. Lochy Bridge, Fort William.
Aged 7 years
43 % BATTLEHILL Distilled: 1998 Bottled: 2005 Exclusively Bottled by Duncan Taylor & Co, Huntly, Aberdeenshire
14 years old
46 % Single Highland Malt THE ULTIMATE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY SELECTION Distilled: 03/07/92 Matured in a Sherry Butt Cask no: 2302 Bottled: 25/04/07 Numbered Bottles Natural Colour Non Chillfiltered The Ultimate Whisky Company, NL
25 years old
56.0 % INFO SINGLE CASK. CASK STRENGHT WEST HIGHLAND MALT SCOTCH WHISKY Distilled in December 1984 DOUBLE WOOD MATURED Cask No: 98 / 35 / 1 Vatted in Sherry Casks in October 1998 Bottled in January 2010 628 Numbered Bottles Non - Chillfiltered Ben Nevis Distillery (Fort .
1 9 8 4
INFO Aged 25 years
55,4 % SINGLE CASK. CASK STRENGHT DOUBLE WOOD MATURED WEST HIGHLAND MALT SCOTCH WHISKY Distilled in December 1984 First filled into freshly dumped bourbon barrels on 20th December 1984 and continued to mature in these casks for almost 14 years until on 14th October 1998 the whisky was vatted transferred into freshly dumped sherry butts. Maturation continued in these casks until this particular cask was bottled in 2010 as a 25 Years Old single west highland malt scotch whisky, which we hope you will enjoy. Vatted in sherry casks in October 1998 Cask No. 98 / 35 / 13 Bottled in may 2010 638 Numbered Bottles Non - Chill Filtered Ben Nevis Distillery (Fort Williams) Limited Lochy Bridge, Fort William.
SIGNATORY VINTAGE SCOTCH WHISKY
Distilled on 14.12.90
Matured in a Sherry Butt
Butt No. 1376
Bottled 2.3. 99
This whisky has been selected, produced
and bottled in Scotland for and under the sole
responsibility of Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky Co, Ltd
15 years old
Single Cask Highland Single Malt
Bottling numbered by hand
Bottled in September 2012
Distilled in October 1996
This single malt from the Ben Nevis Distillery
was filled into a fresh sherry cask, number
1654 on 28th October 1996
The whisky was then left to mature in this
cask in Duty - Free Warehouse No. 3 for a
period of 15 years when it was considered
ready for bottling at cask strength, un - chill
filtered in September 2012
Ben Nevis Distillery, (Fort William) Limited
Lochy Bridge, Fort William BEN NEVIS
46 % 1 9 9 2 Matured for 21 years Highland Single Malt THE ULTIMATE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY Distilled: 03/07/92 Matured in a Sherry Butt Cask no: 2312 Bottled: 16/08/13 695 Numbered Bottles Natural Colour Non Chill Filtered Selected by The Ultimate Whisky company.NL
BEN NEVIS Established 1825 15 years old
57.3 % SINGLE CASK HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY Distilled 23rd June 1998 Matured in Sherry Cask No. 590 of 1998 Bottled in May 2014 Bottling numbered by hand 582 Numbered Bottles Bottle No: 115 This single malt from Ben Nevis Distillery was filled into a fresh sherry butt, number 590 On 23 rd June 1998. The whisky was then left to mature in this cask in Duty - Free Warehouse No. 3 for a period of 15 years when it was considered ready for bottling at cask strength, un - chill filtered, in May 2014. Product of Scotland Ben Nevis Distillery (Fort William) Limited, Lochy Bridge, Fort William
BEN NEVIS Established 1825 21 years old
59.8 % SINGLE CASK HIGHLAND SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY Distilled November 1990 MATURED IN PORT WOOD Initially this cask, produced in November 1990 was filled into refill hogsheads at 72.5 % vol. After 13 years the contents of these casks were vatted then filled into port bodega butts This particular cask was then allowed to continue maturing for a further 8 years to allow this whisky to languish in this new home and to draw and absorb some of the unique characteristics from the cask creating this different slant on Ben Nevis single malt whisky. Matured in a Port Bodega Butt No. 3/10/4 As this is a more mature Ben Nevis Malt we felt it worthy of releasing some 200 in a crystal decanter and two glasses boxed presentation set with the remaining 625 in what is coming to be recognized as our Ben Nevis malt bottle Bottled in September 2012 Bottling numbered by hand 825 Numbered Bottles Bottle No: 662 This single malt from Ben Nevis Distillery was filled into a fresh sherry butt, number 590 On 23 rd June 1998. The whisky was then left to mature in this cask in Duty - Free Warehouse No. 3 for a period of 15 years when it was considered ready for bottling at cask strength, un - chill filtered, in May 2014. Product of Scotland Ben Nevis Distillery (Fort William) Limited, Lochy Bridge, Fort William Colin W. Ross, Distillery Manager
Gebouwd in1825door 'Long John' Macdonald,een voor die tijd heel grote man van1.93 meter, afstammeling van de koningen vanArgyll,dat de Westelijke Hoog- en Eilanden omvatte.
Het was de eerste legale distilleerderij in dit gebied. Hij noemde zijn whisky'Long John's Dew of Ben Nevis',eerst uitgebracht als een single malt whisky, later omstreeks1906als een blended whisky.
In 1848bezochtKoningin Victoria Fort Williamen bij die gelegenheid kreeg zij een vatBen Nevisaangeboden die aangeslagen mocht worden wanneer dePrins van Wales, de latere koningEdward VII, meerderjarig werd, dat was vijftien jaar later.
'Long John' Macdonaldstierf in1856en werd opgevolgd door zijn zoonDonald Peter, die zo succesvol was dat hij een tweede distilleerderij kon bouwen, deGlen Nevis,die vele jaren in produktie was maar in1908werd gesloten.
Donald Peterwerd opgevolgd door zijn zoonsJohnenArchibald Williamdie in1911het merk'Long John',dat was de blend, verkochten aanChaplin'svanTower Hill,een firma die handelde in gin en wijn.
In1936werd deze firma door de in1805gestichtteSeager, Evans & Co, Ltd,gin producenten teLonden,overgenomen.Seager Evanshad de eerste stap in deSchotsewhiskyindustrie in1927gezet met het bouwen van deStrathclydegraan distilleerderij.
In1936kocht menGlenugie,toen de meest oostelijk gelegen distilleerderij.
In1953werden de beperkingen op het maken van whisky door de regering afgeschaft en een overname- en uitbreidingsgolf was het gevolg.
In1955werdBen Nevisovergenomen doorJoseph W. Hobbs,die een vermogen had verdiend en verloren door whisky te smokkelen tijden deAmerikaanse drooglegging, vanuitCanada.
Hij was in1930teruggekeerd naarSchotlanden met hulp vanAmerikaansepartners kocht hijBruichladdich, Glenury Royal, Glenlochy, North Esk, (Old) Fettercairn, Benromach en Strath-dee.
De bedoeling was om na beëindiging van de droogleggingSchotsewhisky te gaan leveren in deVerenigde Staten.
InBen Nevisinstaleerde hij, evenals inLochsideeen patent still, om graanwhisky te produceren. Dit was in de jarenzestig.
Hij blendde de malt- en graanwhisky meteen nadat ze waren gedistilleerd, hij noemde deze werkwijze'blending at birth'.
De uitkomst was gevarieerd en niet altijd van gelijke kwaliteit.
Joseph W. Hobbskocht ookInverlochy Castle,begon een enorme veefarm inAmerikaansestijl kompleet met cowboys. Na zijn dood gingInverlochy Castledienst doen als luxe hotel.
Joseph W. Hobbshad zijn belangen in de Schotse whiskyindustrie intussen verkocht.
Schenley Industriesuit deVerenigde StatennamSeager Evans & Co Ltdover en in1957werdKinclaith,een malt distilleerderij naast deStrathclydegraandistilleerderij gebouwd, in1957 The Tormoreen in1962werd een25 %belang genomen inLaphroaig,gevolgd door de gehele overnamein 1972.
In1969toen er weer een recessie heerste in de whiskyindustrie beperkten deStrathclyde-, Kinclaith-, Glenugie-, The Tormore-enLaphroaigdistilleerderijen hun produktie. In1969werd deGlen Alden Corporation, de eigenaar vanSchenley Industriesovergenomen doorRapid American Incoporated.
In1971veranderdeSeager Evans & Co Ltdzijn naam inLong John International Ltd. In1975wordtLong Johnovergenomen door de bierbrouwersWhitbread. Kinclaithwerd ontmanteld in1975.
In1981wordtBen Nevisgekocht en werd het merk'Long John'weer herenigd met de distilleerderijBen Nevis.Glenugiewerd ontmanteld in1985, de patent still werd verwijderd bijBen Nevisen in1986werdBen Nevisgesloten.
In1988kooptNikka Whisky Distillery Company, Japan Ben Nevis.
Ook dit is een geschiedenis op zichzelf: in haar boek: Japanese Whisky, Scotch BlendbeschrijftOlive Checklandde band tussen de familieNikkaen Schotland.
Na de eerste wereldoorlog bezochtMasataka Taketsuru Schotland,studeerde aan de universiteit vanGlasgow, werkte bij enige distilleerderij en,Hazelburn en Longmorn.
Hij werd verliefd op eenSchotse, Rita Cowen,en keerde in1920naarJapanterug met de bedoeling een eigen distilleerderij te stichten.
ToenMatataka Taketsuruin 1979stierf liet hij een bedrijf na, dat onder de leiding van zijh geadopteerde zoon,Takeshi Taketsuruin 1989 Ben Neviskocht.
Er werd enorm geïnvesteerd, onder andere in een bezoekerscentrum.
In1990wordtBen Nevisweer opgestart. Ook in1990verkooptWhitbread The TormoreenLaphroaigaanAllied Dostillers Ltd.
Het produktiewater komt van deAllt a' Mhuilinn,die zijn water krijgt van twee kleine meertjes inCoire LeisenCoire na Cisteop de bergBen Nevis.
Ben Nevisheeft vier met stoom verhitte ketels met een produktiecapaciteit van750 literspirit per jaar.
Onder de leiding vanColin Ross, de distilleerderij manager zijn vaten met whisky, gedistilleerd tussen1984en1986overgestoken op nieuwe sherry- en bourbonvaten. Elk jaar worden vijf tot zeven vaten met whiskies van 19 tot 26 jaar op vatsterkte gebotteld. De standaard malt is tien jaar oud.
Het water komt van twee bronnen:Coire an CisteenCoire Leisop deBen Nevis.
De Mash tun is 9,5 ton.
De zes Wash backs zijn elk50.000 liter.
De twee Wash stills zijn elk25.000 liter, de twee Spirit stills elk20.000 literen worden door middel van spiralen met stoom verhit.
De capaciteit is500.000 literspirit per jaar.
Gesticht door'Long' John McDonald
Koningin Victoriabezoekt de distilleerderij
'Long' John McDonaldsterft
Zijn zoonDonald P. McDonaldvolgt hem op
Er wordt een tweede distilleerderij naast de 'oude' gebouwd:Nevis
de twee distilleerderijen worden samengevoegd
D.P. McDonalds & Sonswordt verkocht aanBen Nevis Distillery Ltd, Eigendom van
Joseph W. Hobbs, die bezig was een keten van distilleerderijen in Schotland op
te kopen, om van de te verwachtte vraag naar whisky, na de oorlog, te profiteren
Installatie van een kontinue ketel: naast malt kan er nu ook grain whisky worden
Hetzelfde zou een paar jaar later ook bij Lochsidegebeuren.
Hobbssterft, en de produktie stopt
Joseph Hobbs JrverkooptBen NevisaanLong John International,toen het eigendom van de bierbrouwersWhitbread
Ben Nevisweer opgestart na een verbouwing van £ 2 miljoen
Nikka Whisky Distilling Company Ltd,wordt de eigenaar
Bezoekerscentrum wordt geopend
Ben Nevis10 years old geïntroduceerd
Manager (2005) isColin Ross
De kapaciteit is2.000.000 literspirit per jaar
Shipping magnate. Naval veteran. Bootlegger. Cattle rancher.Joseph Hobbswas all of these things – and, to boot, one of the leading lights of the 20th centuryScotchwhisky industry.
Joseph Hobbswas one of whisky's most colourful characters
Some said he shot down aZeppelinduring the First World War. Others insisted that he builtCanada’stallest skyscraper, and that he was a bootlegger during Prohibition in theUS. There was even a rumour that he smuggled guns intoSpainduring theCivil War…
Joseph William Hobbswas the‘Great Gatsby’of theScotchwhisky world: everyone had a story about him, but his past was clouded in mystery. Who was he? Where did he come from? And how did this whisky industry outsider acquire the business contacts required to become one ofScotland’sleading distillery owners?
Only sketchy details exist ofJosephsearly years. It seems that he was born inHampshirein1891, and emigrated with his family to farm 480 acres inBritish Columbia. During the First World War, he returned to theUKand served in theRoyal Navyaboard a destroyer, before becoming an airman. After the war, he joined theCanadiannaval reserve with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
There is a story thatJosephsfound work as a salesman forGilbey’sduring the1920s,but the evidence for his involvement in the drinks business is somewhat hazy. Except, that is, for his involvement in the shipment ofScotchand other spirits to
As president of shipping companyHobbs Brothers Ltd,Joeowned the cargo shipLillehorn,the sleek steam yachtStadaconaand a fleet of smaller vessels such as theNadenand the Hurryonwhich were involved in running booze intoCaliforniaduringProhibition.
The ships were often given unpronounceable new names, such asKuyakuzmt, to confuse theUSauthorities, and they were involved in the transport of many hundreds of thousands of cases of whisky and other contraband to theCaliforniaduring the1920s.
The liquid cargoes were not only shipped fromCanadaandMexico.Geoffrey Cousins’official history ofWilliam Teacher & Sonsrecounts how, during the1920s,theScottishfirm sent tens of thousands of cases ofTeacher’s Highland Creamin quart bottles toAntwerp, where they were loaded on to theLillehornand shipped via thePanama Canalto the west coast of the US.
The whisky was then transferred from the mother ship to speedboats and other small vessels, and smuggled ashore for distribution to local bootleggers – the standard modus operandi adopted byHobbsfor delivering his shipments toCaliforniancustomers.
Joseph Hobbsmade a fortune from bootlegging duringProhibition
No-one knows how much moneyJoemade from his whisky ‘re-exportation’ business during the1920s,but we do know that he had other, more respectable commercial interests.
For example, he was vice-president of aTorontofirm of stockbrokers,G. A Stimson.That firm was involved in one of the most spectacularCanadianbuilding projects of the1920s,raising the finance for the construction of the famous art decoMarine Buildingin downtown
When it opened in1930, theMarine Buildingwas the highest skyscraper in theBritish Commonwealth.Unfortunately, its opening coincided with the onset of theGreat Depressionand it proved almost impossible to fill the building with commercial tenants.Stimson & Cowent bust in1933;Hobbslost a fortune, and the precocious entrepreneur had to look to pastures new
After the repeal ofProhibitionin1933,Americancompanies rushed to secure supplies ofScotchto import legally to theUS. Hobbsand two partners,Hatim AttariandAlexander Tolmie, set upAssociated Scottish Distillers (ASD)to help them out. The new firm worked closely withTrain & McIntyre,aScotchwhisky company that had recently become a subsidiary of theAmericanconglomerate,National Distillers.
In1936,ASDacquiredGlenury Royal DistilleryinStonehaven,buyingGlenlochyandBruichladdicha year later.Glenesk, FettercairnandBenromachwere added in1938, andTrain & McIntyretransferredStrathdeetoASD’smanagement.Gleneskwas converted to a grain distillery(renamed Montrose) that year, to ensure supplies of grain whisky that were independent of the dominant player in the grain whisky market,The Distillers Company Ltd.
UnderJoseph Hobbsleadership,ASDhad become a major force in theScotchwhisky world, and supplied vast quantities of blendedScotchfor theUSmarket. Unfortunately, the outbreak of theSecond World Warin1939led to shortages and disruption to production, and the firm was unable to exploit its assets to the full. After the war, the group was broken up, andNational DistillerssoldTrain & McIntyretoDCLin1953.
Undaunted by the stalling of his latest whisky venture,Hobbsreturned to the fray after the war. He was convinced that large multinational companies such asDCL, SeagramandHiram Walkerwere working to establish a cartel, to drive entrepreneurs like him out of theScotchwhisky business. Much of the rest of his life was spent in challenging the might of these industry giants.
Hobbslike some others, feared that theScotch Whisky Association (SWA)was dominated by the multinationals and no longer represented the interests of small independent firms. In1952he was the driving force in the formation of theIndependent Scotch Whisky Association, a rival trade organisation which, under his charismatic chairmanship, became a thorn in the side of theSWA.At the same time, he set out to re-establish a business that was not reliant on fillings from the industry’s giants.
First, he returned to the acquisition trail. During the 1930s, he had set up a company calledMacnab Distilleriesas a vehicle to acquire and operate theGlen Mavis Distillery.The sale fell through, butHobbskept the company name. In1955,Macnab Distilleriesacquired theBen Nevis Distillery, once associated with the famousLong Johnbrand.
Hobbsinstalled aCoffeystill and began making both single malts and grain whiskies there. He claimed that by blending his whiskies on site, and allowing them to marry for long periods in the wood in his warehouses, he was able to produce superior blendedScotchto those of his competitors.
In1956,Macnab Distilleriespurchased theLochside BreweryinMontrose, andJoseph Hobbsbuilt a grain and a malt whisky distillery on the premises. Once again, he was able to make, blend and bottle his own whiskies, without relying on any other company for fillings. His was a truly independent whisky company.
Hobbswas not only famous inScotlandas a whisky baron. In1944, he bought the grandInverlochy Castleand its vast estates inInverness-shire.He captured the imagination of schoolboys all over the country when he set up theGreat Glen Cattle Ranchthere, and brought cowboys to theHighlands.
He retained his love of the sea, and his steam yachtTorlundy(an old landing craft which he converted after the Second World War) became well-known along theWest CoastofScotland.A later acquisition, theOcean Mist,was acquired a few years before his death in1963. It is now serving as a floating restaurant inLeith.
There is no evidence thatHobbswas ever involved in gun-running, so only one question remains: did he really shoot down aZeppelin?
The answer is no: that was the otherHobbsboy.Joe’sbrother Basilshot down the airship nearFolkestone, and he was also credited with the sinking of twoGerman U-Boatsduring the First World War. But that’s another story of another great character in the history of the whisky trade…
‘LONG JOHN’ MCDONALD
‘Long John’ McDonaldwas a giant of a man, andgiantof theScotchwhisky trade, in which – with his sonDonald– he established one of the world’s most famous single malts.
TheMcDonaldsused commercial stunts to promoteBen Neviswhisky
Ben Nevisdistillery was famous inVictoriantimes as the home ofLong John’s Dew of Ben Nevis, one of the best-known brands ofHighlandsingle malt Scotch whisky. Although the eponymous‘Long John’was not the founder of the business, he and his sonDonaldwere the men who made it famous.
The distillery was built byAngus McDonnellin1825on the banks of theRiver Lochy,just outsideFort Williamat the foot ofBritain’shighest mountain. He started making whisky there inFebruary 1826, and production amounted to around 200 gallons a week. Some writers believe that he was a kinsman of‘Long John’ McDonald(1799-1856), and that the latter may have worked for him at the distillery.
We know for certain thatLong Johnbecame a partner in the business in1830and boughtAngusMcDonaldsremaining stake for the large sum of £1,200 the following year.
As his nickname suggests, the new owner was a big man: reputedly 6ft 4in tall and powerfully built. One author described him as ‘a happy Hercules, the tallest man I ever beheld out of an exhibition’, and he was known as a great sportsman.
By the1850s,newspaper reports ofQueen Victoria’s Highlandjaunts had captured the imagination of her subjects, andBen Nevishad become a popular tourist attraction.Long Johnwas the leader of what we might now call the local mountain rescue team, and was often called upon to help rescue tourists who got into difficulties while climbing its slopes.
Based at the foot ofBen Nevis, Long Johnwas mountain rescue team leader
He featured in newspaper columns all overBritainin1838, after a party including the youngDuchess of Buccleuchgot lost in the mist while ascending the mountain. The alarm was raised at nightfall andLong Johnset off in the dark, ringing a large bell, to find them. The lost souls were found andLong Johnbrought her ladyship off the mountain on the back of his horse, using his plaid as her saddle.
As a businessman,Long Johnhad a flair for publicity. In1841it was reported thatPrince Augustus,theDuke of Sussex,was an aficionado ofLong John’s whisky,and had two dozen bottles in his cellar. Another broadsheet reported that his whisky was supplied to
Long Johneven sent a cask toBuckingham Palace,to be broached on the21st birthdayof thePrince of Wales.The nation’s newspapers loved the story.
By the1850s,Long John’s Ben Neviswhisky was available throughoutBritainfor 42 shillings (£2.10) per dozen, each bottle fitted with a ‘patent metallic capsule’ which prevented ‘the fraudulent substitution of any inferior article’. It was advertised as ‘highly esteemed for the excellence of its flavour and patronised by theRoyal Family,theDuke of Buccleuch,and most of theScottishnobility,’ and was ‘guaranteed pure and unblended’.
One wine and spirit merchant opined that ‘families will be convinced by a single trial thatBen Nevis Dewis truly a medicine’.
Long John’swhisky may have become famous, but his business was ailing. He had borrowed heavily to operate the distillery, having spent most of his capital on acquiring the business, and the banks were not patient when there was a downturn in the market for whisky. His estate was sequestrated in1856, and the unfortunate bankrupt died soon afterwards.
After his father’s death, the youngDonald Peter McDonald (1835-91)acquired the distillery and stocks, and breathed new life into the business. Now known asLong John’s Dew of Ben Nevis,it was sold with age statements varying between five and 11 years, ‘guaranteed pure and unblended and of great age and fine flavour’.
Donaldsupervised the expansion of the distillery. A concrete pier was built on the river, and a fleet of his own cargo ships was employed to carry whisky along thewest coastofScotlandtoGlasgowand other ports in the south.
In1878,with demand soaring,Donaldbuilt a new distillery alongside the old and called itNevis. He designed many of the buildings himself, using concrete in place of traditional brick or masonry where possible, and a bustling village was laid out to accommodate his employees and their families.
When whisky writerAlfred Barnardvisited in1886,the original distillery was producing more than 150,000 gallons of single malt whisky each year, whileNeviswas turning out over 250,000 gallons.Barnardrecorded a workforce of 30 men employed atBen Nevisand 200 more at the new distillery, although many of the men worked on shared services such as warehousing, coopering and carting.
While much of the demand for the whisky came from blenders,Long John’s Dew of Ben Nevisremained, arguably, the world’s best-known single malt brand.The National Guardianreported in1888that ‘the demand for this most excellent ofHighlandmalts is very considerable and steadily advancing inFrance’.
It was also exported toEnglish-speaking countries such asAustraliaand theUS. In every case, great play was made of the fact thatLong John’s Dew of Ben Neviswas a single malt: ‘A fineHighlandwhisky in its pure natural state and not blended with grain spirit’.
Its fame was boosted by the talent for promotion thatDonaldhad evidently learned from his father. When theBritish Medical Associationissued a report on alcohol-related diseases, for example, he quickly adopted some of its findings in his advertising, to suggest that drinkingLong Johnmight prolong life expectancy.
Donalddied in1891,leaving a personal fortune of more than £110,000. The business was inherited by his sons, but it appears that they tired of the challenge to sell single malt in a market increasingly dominated by heavily-promoted blended whiskies.
In1911, they sold theLong Johntrademark to the wine and spirits merchantW. H Chaplin & Co, and one of the most famous names in the world of single malt whisky became a blendedScotch.
BEN NEVIS KICKS OFF SCOTTISH FOLKLORE MALTS
A 45-year-old bottling ofBen Nevisis the first of aScottishfolklore-themed series of single malts launched by whisky companyCask 88.
Ben Nevis 45 Year Old Cù-Sìth
TheBen Nevisbottling will be the first of six in the series
The1972whisky is namedCù-Sìthafter a ‘terrifying’ large hound, reputed to possess a murderous bark and to stalk theHighlands, preying upon weary travellers.
Anyone who hears the beast bark three times, it is said, will be instantly transported to the underworld.
Bottled at 43.2% abv, drawn from a Sherry hogshead and priced at £650 per 70cl bottle, 228 bottles ofCù Sìth Ben Nevis45-year-old are available now fromCask 88’sonline bottle shop.
The Scottish Folkloreseries will comprise six single cask whiskies, each featuring a different mythical beast.
‘We intend to create a fantastic collection of some of the finestScottishwhiskies, selected to represent the breadth and depth ofScotland’sworld-renowned culture and heritage, while playing our part in ensuring these enchanting myths and folk tales endure for generations to come,’ saidCask 88European sales directorJonny Fowle.
Cask 88worked with art historian andCeltic expert Dr Frances Fowleto understand the history of theCù-Sìthlegend and its place inScottishfolklore.
WhenMacdonald’s Traditional Ben Neviswas launched in2011,it was said to be an homage to old-style whiskies, but to be honest that is whatBen Nevishas always made.
The washbacks are wooden and, more significantly, brewer’s yeast is used, making this the last distillery inScotlandto insist on this old way of inducing fermentation. Distillation is slow and steady, giving a rich, deep distillate which matures well in ex-Sherry casks where a ripe, chewy texture is produced.
It was in1825that‘Long’ John Macdonaldtook out a licence for hisBen Nevisdistillery on the outskirts ofFort Williamand close toBritain’shighest mountain. His sonPetertook up the reins soon after and built a significant business. By the end of the19thcentury, when blended Scotch was becoming the fashion,Long John’s Dew of Ben Neviswas a successful single malt brand.
Such was the popularity of theMacDonald’swhisky thatPeterbuilt a second distillery,‘Nevis’,which ran in tandem with the original unit. At one point, over 200 people were employed in this virtual whisky city.
This golden age was not to last. In 1908 Nevisclosed and its sister plant operated intermittently until1941when the colourfulCanadianentrepreneur (and former bootlegger)Joseph Hobbsbought the firm. TheLong Johnbrand name had already been sold toSeager Evans, andHobbssold off the formerNevissite toAssociated Scottish Distilleries. Closed duringWWII,Hobbsrestarted production in 1955 when he installed aCoffey still.He then started to blend his malt and grain together before maturing.
The distillery fell silent in1978,but production started again, along with much needed refurbishment, in1981when it was bought, appropriately enough, byLong John International– by then the whisky division of the brewerWhitbread. In1989, Long Johnsold it to theJapanesedistillerNikkawhich had been buying malt and grain from the distillery for a number of years.
Ben Nevishas continued in production and has split its whisky between bulk supplies forJapan,theDew of Ben Nevisand Macdonalds ofGlencoeblends, and single malt bottlings, which start with a 10-year-old expression but in recent years have been extended to includeMacdonald’s Traditional Ben Neviswhich includes smokier components. Whisky from one of the last ‘Blended At Birth’ casks appeared as a 40-year-old in2002.
CAPACITY (MLPA) i
CONDENSER TYPE i
Shell and tube
FERMENTATION TIME i
48hrs, longer at weekends
FILLING STRENGTH i
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
HEAT SOURCE i
MALT SPECIFICATION i
Normally Speyside Type, low/occasionally 30-35ppm
MALT SUPPLIER i
Various, usually all major U.K. malt supplier companies
MASH TUN MATERIAL i
MASH TUN TYPE i
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Plain, deep base
SPIRIT STILL SIZE (L) i
4 (2 Wash, 2 Spirit)
5 dunnage plus 1 racked
WASH STILL CHARGE (L) i
WASH STILL SHAPE i
Plain, with a large, deep, straight sided bottom
WASH STILL SIZE (L) i
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
WASHBACK TYPE i
6 Steel, 2 Pine
WATER SOURCE i
Allt a Mhullin burn
WORT CLARITY i
YEAST TYPE i
Asahi Group Holdings logo
Asahi Group Holdings
1989 - present
Ben Nevis Distillery (Fort William)
Whitbread & Co
1981 - 1989
Joseph W Hobbs
1955 - 1981
DP MacDonald & Sons
1856 - 1955
1825 - 1856
Ben NevisDistillery ship 75 % of their production in the form of new make to their owners inJapan,Nikka Asahi Brweries,for the blendBlack Nikka.
Output in 2018 : 2.000.000 litres alcohol, and around