Macdonald’s Celebrated Ben Nevis is a NAS single malt whisky originally released as a recreation of the original 19th century recipe that made Ben Nevis famous. That means it is slightly smoky, as most whiskies were back then, even those from the Highlands and Speyside.
Meant to be a (numbered) limited edition, it proved popular (again) so it’s now part of the core range, though sometimes hard to find. Last year the presentation was brought in line with the rest of the range, in the typical dumpy bottle.
Nose: sweet oily notes up front. Embrocation, buttered toast, linseed oil. Clay. Also hints of charcoal and light tobacco. Bananas and cooked apples underneath. Raisins. Hints of orange peel. Reminds me of Ardmore in a way. Mouth: mildly peaty again, with more ashy and tarry notes than you’ll find in Ben Nevis 10 for instance. Subtle waxy notes, peaches and banana again. Leafy notes, a hint of salted liquorice. A touch of green oak as well. Finish: medium long and oily, on tobacco and oak spice.
This has the same old-school charm as my beloved Ben Nevis 10 Year Old, with added smoky notes. A beautiful NAS with an attractive price: great value. I only found the new version at Master of Malt but The Whisky Exchange still has the old bottle.