Review: Arran 18 year old single malt scotch whisky

Arran Distillery via Wm Cadenhead

50.9% ABV

£87.59 from Wm Cadenhead

Score: 86/100

Arran18yo1996SCWC

What they say:

Distilled at Arran Distillery in 1996, this spent a full 18 years maturing in a single Bourbon Hogshead before bottling at cask strength of 50.9% ABV and producing 192 bottles at outturn.

Nose:

Juicy red fruits, hints of cough syrup and stewed apples and soft oily rag notes.

Palate:

Very fruity with lots of toffee, lemon drizzle cake and a very faint trace of smoke.

Finish:

A thick chewy finish, green apple skins and orange bitters. Slightly drying leaving you wanting more.

What I say:

Part of the slew of 18 Year Old Arran whiskies released in 2015, presumably Isle of Arran Distillers stipulated to their private cask purchasers that they were not allowed to pip them to the post in terms of age statement releases. A standard common clause on private cask sales – especially from new (or like Arran, now nearly-new) distilleries. So that the following the 1st release of the official Arran 18 years old it was then a free-for-all for the independent bottlers such as Cadenheads.

Colour:

Irn bru, dark amber orange (13/20), quick medium-sized tears leaving thick trails

Nose:

Orange marmalade, spiced cinnamon and cardamom, sweet honey, creamy vanilla, malt extract/marmite, cereal barley and a little wheat and oats, zesty fruits, orange and lemon, slightly musty and dusty oak wood and dunnage warehouse

Taste:

Warming, spiced orange, madeira cake, white pepper spice, herbal thyme and sweet honey – like thyme honey perhaps, Liqeuer-ish and syrupy, golden syrup with a touch of molasses, dates, zesty and rich orange oil or essence

Finish:

Medium, oak caramel and zesty orange oil with infused herbs

Overall:

A rich and well-balanced single cask example, not the most complex or multi-dimensional of drams but a great depth of flavours. I particularly love the old musty and herbal oak elements in this dram, bringing together a classic combinations of orange with cardamom and thyme. Another great cask selection from Cadenheads.