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Whiskymag 137 July _Aug 2016

Ben Nevis Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Highland Distillery Information

Ben Nevis Distillery, Loch Bridge,

Fort William

PH33 6TJ

Tel: +44 (0)1397 702476


Visitor Centre Please Phone for Details Before Travelling

+44 (0)1397 700200

Ben Nevis Scotch Whisky

Distillery Style Tasting Notes


Nose: Sweet malty and fruity, toffeed.


Palate: Firm and full bodied. Toffee and dark chocolate, very malty, slightly nutty.


Finish: Dry with orange fruitiness.


Ben Nevis Distillery History

“Long John” McDonald, a 6ft 4in descendant of a ruler of the western Scottish kingdom of Argyll, established the Ben Nevis distillery in 1825. Making it one of the oldest licensed distilleries in Scotland


The Ben Nevis distillery is located at the foot of Scotland's highest mountain, Ben Nevis.


The water to make the whisky is taken from the Allt a’Mhuilinn (the Mill Burn) that originates as snowmelt from the mountain. It could hardly be purer or colder.


The ‘Dew of Ben Nevis’ was the first name given to his whisky.


After Long John's death, in 1856 the firm was passed onto his son, Donald Peter McDonald. Who in turn passed  the company to his sons, Archibald William and John (Jack), the latter running the business until emigrating to South Africa after the Boer War.


The distillery survived a sequestration in 1856


In 1878 a second distilling unit, called Nevis, was built nearby as an extension to Ben Nevis distillery. This operated as a separate unit for 30 years before being absorbed into the Ben Nevis operation in 1908. The site of the Nevis distillery is now occupied by a housing estate.


Due to the finacial conditions of the time the "Long John" name was reluctantly  sold in 1911 to W.H. Chaplin & Co Ltd. a London based wine and spirit merchant.


During the Second world war (Dates of 1941 and 1944 have been given) the distillery was taken over by new proprietors with Joseph Hobbs in charge. Under Joseph Hobb’s leadership, a Coffey still was installed in 1955 , making the distillery one of the first to produce both malt and grain whisky simultaneously.


The distillery was re-united with the Long John name in 1981as it was purchased by Long John International


In 1989 the distillery was sold by Whitbread (subsidery  of Long John) to Mitsui, partner of the Japanese whisky-makers Nikka.


The new owners restored distillation of malt whisky but not the grain in 1990 under the name Ben Nevis Distillery Co Ltd.


The mash-tun is a Glenspey type lauter tun made of stainless steel. There are two pairs of stills today, which date from the 1955 Joseph Hobb’s acquisition. The continuous still is no longer on site.


Ben Nevis Single Malt Scotch Whisky Distillery Bottlings

10 Year Old

Forgotten Bottling 10 year old

13 year Old

14 year Old Single Sherry Cask

15 Year Old

Port Cask 21 year old

1966 (25 Year Old)


Ben Nevis Single Malt Scotch Whisky Older Distillery Bottlings

21 Year Old

1973 (26 Year Old)

26 Year Old

30 Year Old

Single Grain

Port wood Finish Single casks 1990,1997,

Single Cask  1984,1996, 1997, 1998


Ben Nevis Single Malt Scotch Whisky Independent bottlings 

A D Rattery

Battlehill (Duncan Taylor)

Clydesdale (Blackadder),


Carn Mor

Dancing Stag (Robert Graham ltd)

Duncan Taylor Collection,

Golden Cask

Hart Brothers,

Murray McDavid,

NC2 (Duncan Taylor)

Old & Rare (Douglas Laing),

Old Malt Cask (Douglas Laing),

Old Masters (James Macarthur & Co ltd)

Platinum (Douglas Laing),

Provenance (Douglas Laing),


Un-Chill Filtered  (Signatory).

Whisky Galore (Duncan Taylor).


Dew of Ben Nevis Scotch Whisky Blends

Principle Scotch Whisky Brands

Special Reserve

Blue Label

Supreme Selection

12 year old Deluxe

20 year old Flagon

21 year old Luxury


Ben Nevis Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

McDonald's Glencoe "8 Year Old Vatted" Malt 58%

Launched during the late 1960’s by Rory McDonald, descendant of Long John McDonald.

Founded in 1825 by Long John McDonald

Location Highlands western region

Water source Allt a Mhullin


Ben Nevis  Distilling Equipment

Stainless Steel Mash Tun

6 Stainless Steel Washbacks.

4 Swan Necked pot stills

Matured in American Bourbon and European sherry oak casks.