Review: Arran 12 year old cask strength single malt scotch whisky
Arran Distillery – Isle of Arran Distillers
£45.53 from Master of Malt
What they say:
The Arran Malt 12 Years Old Cask Strength our Master Distiller James MacTaggart has selected a combination of First-Fill Sherry Butts, Second-Fill Sherry Hogsheads and Bourbon barrels which have been bottled at Natural Cask Strength. The influence of the Sherry Casks has enhanced the classic Arran characteristics of sweet fruit and spicy oak and the Bourbon casks give the vanilla smoothness to create a rich and powerful new edition of The Arran Malt.
A sweet balance of dried tropical fruits and toasted oak
Complex and refined, notes of dark chocolate and coffee beans dominate while a drop of water brings out fresh orange zest and roasted almonds
A lingering finish with a spicy twist which tempts another sip…
What I say:
The 12 year old expression from Arran distillery has been released as a series of Cask Strength batches made from ~40-50 selected casks. For example Batch 3 was produced from 5 First-Fill Sherry Butts, 13 Second-Fill Sherry Hogsheads and 31 Bourbon barrels. I suspect these numbers are reasonably consistent between batches. At just over £40 this expression represents great value for money as it is bottled at cask strength – this time 52.9% – and will happily take a little watering-down for drinking.
Rich barley gold (7/20), slow and oily medium-sized droplets with med-fine trails
Herbal and spicy, fennel and a little clove, grassy, cereal barley malt (a little lighter than the 10 year old), sweet syrup and honey, fruity and fusty apples almost tropical mango, chocolate, milky coffee, toffee and caramel, oak wood
Peanut brittle and salted caramel, waxy and warming, oaty cereal barley malt, old tanned leather, nutty, peanut butter, Reese’s pieces, cinnamon and chilli powder spices and fruity mango and stewed/cooking apples or warm apple sauce
Medium-long, sweet spiced caramel persists
Another lovely Arran expression, fortunately the ABV pervades in this whisky so straight from the bottle this can be a little powerful and direct! A little water softens and opens up this whisky to reveal those characteristic sweet and chocolate Arran flavours, we found the fruity plum had over-stewed into mango and apple and there were definite leather and nut influences from the Sherry casks used too. In all a great range of flavours to be found though a little water is advisable to appreciate this fully.