The Amber Light – Ben Nevis 1996

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Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few months, you’ll know that Dave Broom has released a fantastic documentary, The Amber Light, which looks at the culture surrounding Scotch whisky, from music and poetry, to food and art, to literature and the liquid itself. It premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in August where is was nominated for Best Documentary Feature Film, but if you missed it, fear not. Over the next few weeks it’ll be shown in various cinemas around the country, and some screenings are followed by a Q&A with the director, Adam Park. If you’re reading this article from the comfort of your own home in Edinburgh, get yourself along to the Cameo cinema tomorrow night (Fri 22nd) and check it out. You can get your tickets here.

To celebrate the film’s release, and success, Dave has also selected a single cask whisky which is currently only available to those who funded production of the film through Kickstarter. With only 497 bottles available, most are already snapped up, and any remaining bottles will go on general sale this coming Monday (Nov 25th). This whisky is a 1996 Ben Nevis, matured for 23 years in a refill sherry butt, bottled by The Thompson Brothers and available exclusively from Royal Mile Whiskies. It almost seems a little pointless reviewing a single cask whisky selected by Mr Broom, because you know it’s gonna be damn good… isn’t it…?

Ben Nevis 1996 23yo The Amber Light
Selected by Dave Broom
Bottled by The Thompson Bros
Exclusive to Royal Mile Whiskies
497 bottles
52.2% ABV
£164.95 here

Nose: Truffle oil, putty, hessian, and beeswax, then white flowers, dusty lemons and buttery pastries. Then a real fruitiness emerges, with dried apricot, orange liqueur, crystallised pineapple, and black banana. There’s the merest whiff of smoke, with some coffee grounds and a touch of leather. Gorgeous.

Palate: An initial note of honeyed porridge, and scones with clotted cream, then the fruit bursts through – juicy fruit gum, blueberry muffins, mango, papaya, passionfruit, and orange blossom. There’s a little ginger zing, with white pepper and sawdust too.

Finish: The fruit lingers and is complimented with some floral notes and a zesty spice. Some waxed cricket bat and gentle oak.

Overall: Damn good? In a word: yes. Oily, fruity, floral and ever so slightly dirty. Multi-faceted, complex, well balanced and extremely drinkable at cask strength. A very good single cask, and one which is very apt for celebrating the success of The Amber Light. If you backed the documentary on Kickstarter and haven’t bought your bottle, you better hurry up as I have no doubt this bottle will be long gone before Monday is out. Old school whisky… just the way I like it.



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