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My first Arran was their "most entry" expression: their "approximately 8 year old" Original, which I have reviewed previously. Whereas the "Original" is only distributed in non-UK northwestern Europe (Arran refers to the webpage of their distributor: www.whisky.fr/arran-original.html), the 10 year old is their more widely available entry expression. Is it still light and refreshing, and is it preferable?
First vapor: Red apples
Nose: Salted butter, supported by fresh grass and a whisp of vanilla sweetness. There is also cantaloupe, if you're looking, and an impression of Nori sheets.
Palate: Smack of salted butter drizzled on overripe yellow apple. The butter grows with vanilla and some gingery spice.
Finish: More butter and yellow apple, with (non-peppery) nutmeg.
Compared to the younger Original, this 10yo malt is still light and refreshing, but provides stronger sensations. I drank the Original solely during summers, since it was so light. While the 10 is not exactly heavy, it calls out for more attention than the Original. The nose is still vanilla-- but thicker. The "thin" smells I described in the younger Arran (grass, rosewater, and strawberry) are now replaced with more substantial notes of butter and salt or slight seaweed. The palate and finish also have more butter, and an apple-y fruitiness has emerged.
Happily, I have not noticed much difference in a few-months aged sample. If anything, the flavors have just intensified.
The Arran 14, which I will review soon, has a different character, with more oak and some different fruit influences.
The closest malts to the Arran 10 in my mindbank are Glenlivet 18, Glenfarclas 10, & Glendronach Octarine. The Arran is: saltier than the 'livet, less complex than the 'farclas, and perhaps less balanced than the 'dronach. You can see my reviews of those, for more details.