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I remember rolling my eyes at a marketing guy's statement that "maturity and age aren't the same thing". He was defending a move by a major distillery to do away with age statements in their core range and replace their age stated bottles with the names of Pole Dancers, er, I mean colours. He went on to compare choosing which whiskies to blend to "picking an apple when it's perfectly ripe as opposed to when it reaches a certain age". The whole thing reeked of pretentiousness and condescension to me, but Isle of Arran's 10 year old has made me somewhat re-think my stance. Peated whisky often gets a free pass for younger age-stated releases since they're usually peatier at a younger age. But unpeated whiskies are often (mistakenly) perceived as getting better with age. So what does a young Arran taste like?
- Nose (undiluted): pineapple, mangoes, oranges, vanilla, cinnamon, wood varnish,
- Palate (undiluted): soft, floral, creamy, ripe red apples, lemon, orange, and a bit of grapefruit
- Finish: medium length, a bit waxy, then croissants, butter, honey, vanilla and toasted oak
Water doesn't really change much at all. I'd skip it altogether, unless that's your thing.
Arran's 10 Year Old single malt has no sharp, bitter, spirit notes and is wonderfully balanced. It's not the most complex whisky I've ever tasted, but it's no one-hit wonder either. I can't remember what I paid for this, but I think it was about the same price as Glenmorangie 10, and Arran is bottled at natural colour, unchil-filtered and at 46% abv. It's a winner in my books. I believe this is an ideal whisky for introducing someone to Scottish single malt.