Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Have just tried - Arran 17 years old

This whisky is the oldest single malt released to date by the independent Arran distillery. It is the second whisky in a special trilogy, which saw a 16 years old released last year and culminates in an 18 years old bottling next year. It was released back in March but we have only just got around to sampling it.  The whisky has been matured in ex-sherry casks and there are just 9,000 bottles released worldwide.  The bottling is said to contain some of the first whisky that was produced by the distillery when it opened in 1995.

This makes Arran one of the youngest single malt whisky distilleries in Scotland. They released their first single malt whisky in 1998. The core range of whiskies is ever expanding and gaining recognition around the globe.. The distillery is located near the village of Lochranza on the isle of Arran, which lies between the Campbeltown peninsula and the west Lowland coast. It became the first legal distillery on the island since the 1840s and is one of Scotland's smaller distilleries with a production capacity of 750,000 litres per year.

This 17 years old expression is bottled at 46% ABV, is non chill-filtered and of natural colour. A bottle has a recommended price of £64.99 and is available from specialist whisky retailers and

Our tasting notes
The colour is a deep golden yellow and the nose is fragrant and full of sweet aromas.  There is an instant hit of crumbly brown sugar and intense malted barley.  These are backed up by further aromas of fudge, sultanas and hints of maple syrup, cinnamon, candied orange peel and earthy ginger root.

On the palate, this is initially warming and slightly bitter.  This feeling is driven by notes of woody, earthy spices (think of cinnamon and ginger especially) and a distinct nuttiness (bitter almonds and hazelnuts in particular).  Some much needed sweetness then begins to come through and redress the balance.  There are delicious notes of honey, golden syrup, malty cereals, brown sugar and juicy sultanas.  The combination with the wood spices and bitter characteristics is very pleasant.  There are also hints of fresh apple, espresso coffee and that tangy candied orange from the nose.

The finish seems slightly short.  The sweeter elements fade quickly to leave the drier, woodier and spicier notes.  This leaves a mix of dried nuts, cinnamon and coffee grounds in the mouth, with just a hint of burnt oranges.

What's the verdict?
The is another good offering from the Isle of Arran Distillers.  It is not the most complex of single malts, especially considering its age, but it has plenty of interesting characteristics and is very enjoyable to drink.  It also seems to offer good value for money against other whiskies of a similar age.

Many of the new distilleries that have been founded recently or are about to start production would do well to follow Arran's model.  They have not tried to 're-invent the wheel' but instead concentrated on producing good quality, easy drinking whiskies that can be enjoyed by beginners and more experienced consumers alike.

No comments: