After it was relaunched and re-labeled in 2017, Ben Nevis was said to have difficulties sourcing enough casks for their excellent Ben Nevis 10 Year Old. There had been a general shortage already and the 10 was rumoured to contain quite a lot of older (+/- 18 year-old) casks, which probably contributed to its success.
Ben Nevis 10 Years relied mostly on refill casks, so to take away some pressure from this expression, they launched this limited edition Ben Nevis 10 Year Old Batch No.1 which was bottled from first-fill casks (bourbon, sherry and wine casks), all filled 21st of April 2008 and released at cask strength.
Some sources claim there are around 9000 bottles with no plans to release a second batch. In the meantime there seems to be a steadier supply of the regular 10 (now with less of the older casks though).
Nose: you do get the bigger wine and sherry influence here, taking away some of the old-skool oily and dusty profile of the classic 10. Some raisins, black pepper, gingerbread and flinty notes, maybe a hint of gunpowder. Faint blackberries. Nutmeg. Moist earthy notes and tobacco. Mouth: cranberries and blackberries again, toffee as well. Quite winey indeed, including a drying mouthfeel of green pepper, walnuts and ginger. All-spice. It started sweet but becomes nutty and spicy, with light tannins and a hint of charred wood. Finish: medium length, fairly dry and oaky, with walnut skins and hints of dark cocoa.
This has a different character than the original 10 year-old, it’s not just a cask strength version. While the regular 46% is a future classic in my opinion (and I’m not the only one who says that), this is less convincing, with a slightly disturbing winey side. Not bad but we expected too much. Still available from Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange.