• Founded: 1993
  • Status: Operational
  • Region: Island, Scotland – Lochranza, Isle of Arran KA27 8HJ +44(0)1770 830264
  • Online:


History Arran distillery is a whisky distillery in Lochranza, Scotland, the only distillery on the Isle of Arran. In 1994 Arran Distillers was founded by Harold Currie, former director of Chivas with the intention of building a distillery on Arran. During the construction of the distillery, a pair of Golden Eagles built their nest on a cliff near the distillery; since Golden Eagles are a protected species, construction of the distillery was temporarily halted. The distillery opened in 1995. There used to be about fifty distilleries on the island, but most of them were “moonlight” or illegal distilleries. The most recent legally founded distillery on Arran, called ‘Lagg’, closed in 1837. Until recently a proportion of the casks were stored in the warehouses of Springbank, due to a lack of room in the distillery, and the legal impossibility of extending the current warehouses at the Arran distillery. However, the distillery now has a revolutionary storage warehouse, on site, that allows easier access to barrels. The distillery offers a cask purchase scheme which offers private individuals the opportunity to own their own cask of whisky, which can be stored on site at the distillery.

The Arran Distillery is a patron of the World Burns Federation and as such has created a Robert Burns Single Malt and Robert Burns Blended Whisky in honour of Scotland’s National Poet. They are the only whisky distillery to be able to use the image and signature of Robert Burns on their packaging. The whisky of Arran is mostly used to produce their Single Malt Whisky, but a small proportion also goes into the production of their range of blended whiskies : Lochranza Blend, Robert Burns Blend and Arran Gold Single Malt Whisky Cream Liqueur. The Arran Distillery is now owned by a group of private shareholders and the Managing Director is Euan Mitchell. 2010 saw the release of a 15th Anniversary bottling on the occasion of the Distillery Open Day on 3 July. Autumn 2010 also saw the release of the first official 14-year-old to be released by the Distillery. The first peated Arran Single Malt (called Machrie Moor) has been available since December 8, 2010.

The Whiskyphiles tasting notes

Official Bottling
  • Arran10yo Arran 10 Years Old (2015) - We found this one very rich and mealy, especially for a 10 Year Old whisky, testament to Arran's unwavering non-chillfiltration and also delivery at 46% ABV, whereas many other staple 10 year old offerings are diluted to 43% or even 40% in this introductory category. The result is a full-bodied whisky that gives the impression of chewing on freshly malted cereal barley, this one is very moreish and Arran distillery's output continues to impress us. 84/100
  • arran-12-year-old-cask-strength-batch-5-whisky Arran 12 Years Old Cask Strength Batch 5 (2015) - 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. 85/100
  • arran-14-year-old-whisky Arran 14 Years Old (2015) - A definite sherry influence lightly pervades this typically malty and sweetly cerealed Arran expression. A nice balance has been achieved with a little musty sherry ageing lightened by a zestier fruity nature too. 86/100
  • arran-18-year-old-whisky Arran 18 Years Old (2016) - Quite spiced and interesting, there is a good balance throughout of zesty citrus fruit and good dark chocolate however I found myself being surprised that this was 18 years old as it felt a little too young and zesty/spicy to carry off that age statement. 85/100
  • arran-18-year-old-whisky Arran 18 Years Old 1st Release (2015) - This 18 year old Arran delivers plenty of sherried spicy toasted oak and a fruity zest to that core cereal malt of the Arran distillate. If anything we found this one to be less fruity-sweet than their younger expressions as it has developed a deep- dark sweetness with age. 89/100
  • Arran Amarone Arran Amarone Cask Finish (2014) - This stuff is delicious. At under £40 a bottle and bottled at 50% ABV you get a lot for your money. A superb example of complimentary cask-finishing the Arran Amarone is definitely one to look out for. 85/100
  • Arran-Lochranza-Reserve Arran Lochranza Reserve (2015) - Very pleasurable dram, a surprise to find a NAS whisky that has clearly been well-matured (no hiding behind added caramel here), initially a little honey and lemon standard NAS fare gives way to some real depth and true Arran distillery character. If I were to stock a standard NAS expression, I would be proud to have this one from Arran on my shelf any day. 83/100
  • arran-2015-festival-french-oak Arran Malt and Music Festival 2015 (2016) - Delicious! Punchy but excellently constructed, tannic oak balanced with crisp orchard fruits! 90/100
Independent Bottling
  • OctaveSet-Arran-2_2000xcrop Arran 6 Years Old Oloroso Sherry Octave Finish (2018) - Arran 6 Years Old Oloroso Sherry Octave Finish - The Octave Project whisky review: A great nose on this one, very smooth on the palate with plenty of mouth-watering fruit jam. sadly still a little too thin although some malty barley makes an appearance, a little warming with some reflux on this one. 73/100
  • OctaveSet-Arran-2_2000xcrop Arran 6 Years Old Original Bourbon Barrel (2018) - Arran 6 Years Old Original Bourbon Barrel - The Octave Project whisky review: This 6 year old cask strength bourbon-barrel matured Arran is very light bodied with fresh and fruity spirit and hints of wood. A little bit of a 'ghost' whisky, i.e. is it really there? Not a huge amount of character, but fairly light and pleasant enough to carry into the octaves for finishing. 68/100
  • OctaveSet-Arran-2_2000xcrop Arran 6 Years Old PX Sherry Octave Finish (2018) - Arran 6 Years Old PX Sherry Octave Finish - The Octave Project whisky review: On the face of it this had plenty going for it in terms of aroma's and flavours, I must admit to preferring PX to Oloroso sherry most of the time. Unfortunately this is still too light-bodied to carry these flavours and any previous character has been obliterated. Sadly this PX finish tasted a little force-matured and this whisky's backbone too weak to take it. 70/100
  • OctaveSet-Arran-2_2000xcrop Arran 6 Years Old Rioja Octave Finish (2018) - Arran 6 Years Old Rioja Octave Finish - The Octave Project whisky review: Wow, superbly good and equal to the Oloroso in enjoyment terms. This Rioja-cask finish is a little dustier and drier and has a slightly lighter fruit profile with hints of spice and greener oak wood. That classic combo of strawberry and lime that really works. 73/100
  • OctaveSet-Arran-2_2000xcrop Arran 6 Years Old Rum Octave Finish (2018) - Arran 6 Years Old Oloroso Rum Octave Finish - The Octave Project whisky review: Finally a little bit of body in this one, it borders on becoming undone by the spirity & spicy nature which come across as youthful exuberance. I have come unstuck upon several rum-cask finishes of late but this one has renewed my interest in them. A very pleasant way to finish off our Octave Project sampling.
Berry Bros & Rudd
  • Arran 16 Years Old 1997 Berrys’ (2014) - A very interesting dram all the same but I have been finding any Marsala cask finish whisky slightly unsavoury. Strange because I think my issue is the slightly savoury nature it imparts - it pretends to be umami and meaty but ends up like olives or nut loaf (it just isnae meat). There was a huge complexity to this dram and it really took me to the fairground with the diesel engined rides and candy floss and popcorn stalls overwhelming my nose. On tasting though, I felt like I fell out of the fairground and into the sea and came out with a green olive in my popcorn and seaweed on my toffee apple... Redeems itself on the finish but by then the damage was done. My instinctual score was a 75 but I later switched to 80 as it grew on me and I anticipated the initially unexpected. You'll either love it or no. 75/100
  • Arran 18 Year Old Single Cask Wm Cadenheads Arran 18 Years Old 1996 Single Cask (2015) - 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. 86/100
Gleann Mor
Private Cask
  • arran-13-year-old-2001-glasgows-whisky-club Arran 13 Years Old 2001 Glasgow’s Whisky Club (2016) - Very nice, a little bit sweeter and slightly less complex than Green Welly Stop Arran. 85/100
  • arran_circle_cask42_200 The Arran Circle Limited Edition (2016) - An interesting young(ish) bourbon cask from Arran, drinkable and plenty of character, this reminds me a little of the Lochranza Reserve official bottling lacking only the sherry-influence that receives from its mixed cask heritage 83/100
The Green Welly Stop
  • arran-tgws-50th Arran The Green Welly Stop 50th (2016) - Wondefull, a mealy dram, spicy and tart, tannic and oaky, deeply fruity with sherry influence - nothing wrong here! 88/100
Scotch Malt Whisky Society
  • smws 121-65 SMWS 121.65 A well-oiled Baseball glove (2014) - Interesting and reasonably pleasant, the finish was a little disappointing as this promised big flavours then fizzles out at the end. 70/100
  • smws 121-74 SMWS 121.74 A box of Chocolates (2015) - "Mama always said life is like a box of chocolates" - Forrest Gump This whisky however does exactly what it says on the tin, plenty of chocolate flavour with hints of strawberry creams, toffee, fudge, honeycomb and coffee liqueurs. An indication that Arran distillery really has come of age now and that plenty of mid-teen aged whiskies are available with plenty of character. Being a chocaholic this one was very well received, if not a little too sweet overall. 85/100
Whisky Broker
  • Arran 17 Year Old Whiskybroker Arran 17 Years Old 1996 Single Cask 1482 (2015) - This one had me guessing Sherry cask all over. With the fruit, tannin, leather and chocolate  - I now realise this is core Arran malt signatures mixed with a particularly active refill hogshead. Very enjoyable! 85/100
  • Arran-18-1996-WhB-777 Arran 18 Years Old 1996 Single Cask 777 (2020) - Another characteristically fruity Arran dram, still quite spicy and perhaps a little less sweet and vanillic most likely due to the use of a refill hogshead for maturation here. 84/100
  • Arran 18yo O884 WhB Arran 18 Years Old 1996 Oloroso octave finish (2015) - he 2nd of the Arran 18 year olds released by Whiskybroker in January 2015, this has spent some time finishing in an Oloroso sherry conditioned octave cask and has taken on a subtle nuttiness. 88/100
  • Arran 18yo PX884 Arran 18 Years Old 1996 PX octave finish (2015) - Possibly the best of the 3 Arran 18 year old expressions in my opinion, though this may have been subject to my PX bias. It is not quite as nutty and chocolatey as some but delivers a lot of flavour in depth and well structured. The fruit and malt are a lot darker than usual for Arran, which is a superb! 89/100
  • Arran 18yo WhB-RHH1023 Arran 18 Years Old 1996 Single Cask 1023 (2015) - A very nice single cask Arran example from Whiskybroker. Light on the fruity elements that usually derive from the long fermentation times that Arran distillery brew there wash. Juicy and crisp white fruits on the nose don't come through on the palate leaving a veritable selection of biscuit and chocolate flavours that are just delicious! 88/100