Ben Wyvis distillery only existed for 12 years, from 1965 to 1977. It was built as an addition to the Invergordon grain distillery and consisted of two pot stills. Ben Wyvis whisky was produced solely for blending purposes, and was never intended to be drank as a single malt.
Our research turned up only three official bottlings: a 37yr, 3 casks of 27yr, and a rumored single cask that was bottled in 1974 and sent to the US. In addition, Signatory managed to find three casks of their own (cask numbers 685, 686, and 687), which were bottled in 2000. That makes for a total of only eight casks of Ben Wyvis to ever be bottled as a single malt. Let us know if you've got better info.
Nose: Gasoline on fresh lumber. Honey and lemon come out with water
Palate: Full flavored damp mossiness. Little bit of paint thinner with a faint hint of new wood.
The finish is fleeting.
This is nice, a lipsmacker. Hurry up and lobby Ben Wyvis not to close before it's too late. Happily it has its own unique flavor, perhaps akin to a good mac Fine Oak or Balvenie, but better. Cheers for Wyvis's memory.
In the nose there's light honey, chardonnay, vanilla, floral stuff, and hints of sourdough bread. The palate is is quite sweet without being cloying, and at first there's not a huge range of flavor -- mainly sweet vanilla stuff. Then honeysuckle and lavender join in... and after a moment, there's a spice and sugar-cookie explosion that takes over the very long finish, joined by a little pepper, and the noticeable mint/shiso thing that often accompanies whiskies this old. Vanilla in the very end. Wow! This is darn tasty. It's got many Irish Whiskey qualities, but is more oily and silky in the mouth.... generally a floral and lighter number.... really an enjoyable single malt, I would love this any day. After a few sips, the palate opens up more, revealing distinct spices of cinnamon and cardamom, and hints of red pepper flakes. A superb example of a quite sweet yet somehow still balanced bourbon-casked single malt... I guess the wood has done some nice work here in countering that, although I didn't get an enormous woody character from this. I'd think that if this were affordable and not nearly-nonexistent, lots of people would really like it.
........After drinking this over a couple weeks, I looked for some other opinions... and found Serge's 80-point review, which I disagree with. I don't find this whisky overly oaked and tannic... nutmeg and vanilla, yes, green tea no, rather huge fruitiness, well, not that huge....
To note, one evening I ate a hefty helping of pizza as an "intermission" to my Wyvis drinking session -- after the pizza, the Wyvis tasted more bitter and tannic (duh -- hurl your insults now). This is definitely one that's better to start the night with than to finish (and drinking very-aged whisky like this after having sweet-ish foods beforehand will make the whisky taste more bitter... Domino's counts... see my Craftsteak writeup).
After my Kinclaith experience, I expected this to be mediocre at best, and I've tried lots of expensive but crappy whiskies, so if anything my expectations worked against me liking this as much as I do.... *sniff* did.
N: Light citrus, rose water, cake frosting. P: A lot of vanilla and oak, very silky mouth feel. The profile is similar to Macallan Fine Oak, but I'd say better than any of the ones I've tried. Nothing particularly unique going on, but what it's got it flaunts. F: Long sweet finish with lemon drops. This was a big surprise. The word on the street was that Ben Wyvis wasn't much of a malt. This one turned out pretty good though.
Slightly sweet melon and sourdough tang. Interesting and certainly a rare treat. Fairly well balanced and mellow, but with a medicinal sharpness that is less than ideal. Overall enjoyable, but not a superstar.