This month we are delighted to feature a truely unique malt, direct from the gorgeous Isle of Arran.
5 Malts await your sense to explore including 3 Cask Strength (two of which are matured in some very unusual casks) and 2 delightful age statements.
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The Arran distillery was founded by Harold Currie, former Managing director of Chivas Bother and later of Campbell Distillers. Harold Currie raised money for the project by a novel 'bond holders' scheme, which invited subscribers to invest by guaranteeing them a certain amount of whisky - five cases of bonded whisky in 1998, five cases of Arran Founders Reserve in 2001, all for £450.
The distillery, which stands above the picturesque village and sea Loch of Lochranza, opened in 1995. The first spirit ran from the stills at the distillery on 2.29pm on 29th of June 1995, bringing legal distillation back to Arran after more than 150 years.
Before the distillery opened though, there was much speculation about which style of malt it would produce, would it be Islay smokey, Cambeltown heavy or Lowland light?
As the Island (or Isle) sits south-west of Glasgow, protected by the Campbeltown Peninsula it's proximity to such various whisky styles makes it an anomaly.
However, by 1995, the influence of it's location could be controlled thanks to the modern distillation process so the decision was left to its founder. Harold Currie was a Speyside distiller, and opted for that style. So it is impossible to classify Arran by regional style (although I am bias and elect to call it an Island Malt - not to be confused by the smokey Islay)
Arran Distillery boasts an amazing Visitors centre, which has even won a top award from Visit Scotland. This was opened by H.M. The Queen in 1997 and is one of the islands main visitor attractions.
The Arran 10 Year old is the flagship Single Malt from the Arran distillery. On the nose it is sweet with oak and honey. With a dash of water you may sense coconut, butterscotch and some liquorice.
Over time it begins to open and the Arran hallmarks of citrus and sweet fruit emerge to coat the tongue. The finish is clear and fresh and you will be rewarded with a lingering creamy sweetness.
It's mellow, smooth and bursting with flavour.
COLOUR: Ripe Golden Barley
Nose: The initial rush of vanilla sweetness gives way to the fruits of slow distillation - kiwi, banana, cantaloupe melon - with just a dusting of cocoa powder. It is undoubtedly complex and yet the aromas are in complete harmony with the malt.
Taste: A touch of cinnamon adds a spicy edge to the soft and sweet texture which captivates the palate. The classic Arran citrus notes have rounded with age and reveal new depths of character against a background of sweet oak.
Finish: It drifts over the tongue like golden syrup and fades ever so slowly to tempt another sip. This is a beautifully made whisky. Arran has come a long way in 10 years. Truly the best things in life are always worth waiting for!
The Arran 14 gives off immediate hints of dried fruits, vanilla and toffee. The caramelized fruits on the nose indicate a depth of flavour in this dram. An initial fresh burst on the palate leads onto warming toffee apples and hazelnuts. The mouth feel is beautifully rich and weighty with dates, chocolate orange and spiced tea cake. The finish is trademark Arran, plenty of length and a lingering creamy sweetness.
Nose: Dried fruits, vanilla and toffee up front. With a little water a salty tang appears, with caramelised fruits indicating a depth of flavour to come.
Palate: An initial burst of brine leads onto warming toffee apples and hazelnuts. This is followed by dates, chocolate orange and spiced tea cake. The mouth feel is overwhelmingly rich and weighty.
Finish: A trademark Arran finish with cinnamon spices leading back to where the experience began, with a classic island-style salty wave balancing the sweet fruit of the palate.
The Arran malt finished in a Sauternes Cask is a variable gourmet whisky. The sweet fruity Arran character marries beautifully with the casks provided by an artisan producer of this iconic Bordeaux sweet white wine.
The nose of this whisky is immediately intriguing with lush tropical notes and banana but there is a spicy edge to it which add balance.
The palate is just as rich with honeyed notes, backed up by lifting zestfulness.
The finish is a glorious combination of voluptuous Sauternes and the Arran glory. This is a charming and fascinating whisky.
Nose: Honeysuckle, melon and marzipan with a spicy edge to add balance. Add water and a lush fruit attack appears with banana, forest flowers and a rich nutty character
Palate: Richly honeyed and backed with a lifting zestiness which slides into spice and zingy salt. Once the dram opens out, vanilla and sultana stand out followed by notes of toasted oak.
Finish: A glorious combination of voluptuous Sauternes and Arran Malt.
The Arran Malt finished in a Port Cask was one of the first Cask Finish expressions produced by the Arran Distillery. Using high quality casks from a respected producer of this iconic Portuguese fortified wine, this bottling delivers on every level.
On the nose the trademark Arran notes of vanilla and spice are evident but contain a hint of nuttiness.
On the palate, richer notes of raisins, baked apple and cinnamon appear giving a weighty mouth feel.
The finish is classic Arran with barley sweetness which shines through and is magic on the palate.
Nose: Vanilla spice and ripe citrus running into dried fruits and nuttiness. With a splash of water more depth of mandarin citrus with fudge and honeyed notes.
Palate: Layered fruits and spice combine with cinnamon baked apple wrestling with raisin and plum pudding. The dram opens out to reveal warming barley and a hint of sweet pear.
Finish: A classic Single Malt with punch that dances on the palate. The trademark Arran barley-sweetness shines through the layers of complexity, each sip reveals new depths.
The Arran 12 year old Cask Strength displays all the character of the Classic Arran Single Malts in an intense concentrated form, creating a truly rewarding Single Malt.
Arran Master Distiller James MacTaggart selects a higher proportion of first fill Sherry cashs for a richer, full bodied dram which is undoubtebly powerful yet retains the finesse of the other Arran expressions.
The nose reveals dried fruits and toasted oak, and the first sip coats the palate in a warm Sherry blanket, all spice and dark chocolate. A lingering finish leave a lasting impression.
Nose: Full-bodied aroma of dark chocolate, toasted oak and baked apples.
Palate: A warming sherry blanket at first but time and a splash of water reveal more subtle nuances of citrus fruits and cinnamon.
Finish: Powerful and spicy but still retains the finesse of classic Arran expressions.