Once in a Lifetime: The Berlin Bottlings of Ben Nevis 34 and Tomintoul 44

2014-05-24 17.58.52One single barrel to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Big Market whisky shop in Berlin and another to commemorate the fourth of Finest Whisky – two local Berlin shops whose commemorative bottlings I tasted  while in Berlin a couple of months ago. Indeed, it seems to be quite the thing for whisky stores to bottle their own bottlings for their anniversaries, possibly with a friendly competition going on.
While at Finest Whisky, I was treated to the end of a bottle of a  Tomintoul 44, distilled in 1967 and bottled at 48.5% ABV to commemorate the store’s 4th birthday (!) in 2010. While I don’t have detailed notes, I can tell you that it very floral and creamy on the nose, and buttery and caramelized sugar sweet on the palate. A lovely dram which needed a lot of time to fully savor. Sadly, I didn’t have the time to fully explore this gem.

I apologize for posting pictures I took using my phone camera, as both expressions are so localized that they can only be had at the shops in Berlin (well, I had the Ben Nevis at the Loch Ness Bar in Berlin, still local).

On the other hand, I had plenty of time to explore the Ben Nevis 34, and here are my notes of this spectacular expression:

The Unicorne/Big Market – Ben Nevis 1975 (distilled 22.12.1975, bottled 15.10.2010), 34 Year old, cask 915 (46.8% ABV, NCF NC)

2014-05-22 21.58.00

Color: Deep gold, slow legs.

Nose: Nosed right after pouring, there was alcohol and concentrated Concord grape wine with sweet pea flowers – very sweet and thick. Then, after settling in the glass there is malt, prickly pear, mesquite fire from afar, light BBQ, peach brandy, honey and vanilla. The honey and vanilla mix to form floral notes that compliment the cereal malty notes, that develop into fresh brioche and sweet pipe tobacco.

Palate: Lemon, grapefruit and the white between the fruit and the peel, lemongrass. The whisky is light and very sliky on the palate. Easy to drink.

Linger: Sour fruit, clear grapefruit notes, long linger with….you guessed it….grapefruit.



This is a lovely dram, which needs time to open. I spent a half an hour with this whisky, getting deeper and deeper into the grapefruit that it is. I can still conjure up the memory of that linger….




2 comments on “Once in a Lifetime: The Berlin Bottlings of Ben Nevis 34 and Tomintoul 44
  1. SmokyBeast says:

    Awesome, I love this kind of stuff. 1975 Ben Nevis sounds dreamy.

    • Michael says:

      Yup, it was stellar indeed.
      BTW, the review of the Willett’s 25 Rye you did a few months back had my mouth watering….

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