This is a late 2020 bottling of the flagship, age-stated malt from the only (for now) distillery on the Isle of Arran. I have to note that it is distinctly darker than the last bottle I bought (with the older label and taller bottle). I seem to remember hearing a rumour about them adding more sherry casks into the mix, and looking at the two bottles side by side, it would be a decent bet. I really enjoyed my last bottle of the ten and was surprised by the quality and fruity profile. So how is it faring a few years on?
Bottle's been open a few months with about three quarters left. Ive added a few drops of water to a 25ml pour. It's better when it opens up a touch, but, to my tastes, it will drown quickly and lose some of the mouth-feel.
Nose - There's this immediate sweet, fruitiness but it's tempered with a slight salty, earthy note that holds the sweeter notes up and adds depth. So, green apples, one red apple (there's my nod to Serge V ;), and something vaguely tropical - coconut perhaps? There's also a big note of thick honey that sits prominently, with some light grassy and white wine notes. Sweet malty biscuits and vanilla too.
Taste - Creamy vanilla, more apples, a hint of very sour pineapple, more of the wine and grassy notes in the development and, again, a sense of earthy warehouse and light saltiness. Digestive biscuits and light beer notes also. It has a pleasing, slight oily mouth-feel. Good grip, as they say.
Finish - more of the creamy vanilla, malt and a little salty, syrupy and honeyed sweetness. Malty.
Yes, this is still excellent and is a fabulous standard offering from the distillery. Good value too (c£35)! I like how if offers a lighter, fruitier profile whilst still managing to have some depth and a wee coastal touch - which keeps it interesting. This seems even more honeyed than the last bottle I had too but I'm not complaining. One with which I plan to stock up on - this is excellent whisky for the money, it really is.
@Megawatt - Thank you! I hope you manage to track down a bottle in the not too distant ...
Whiskies with an overtly fruity profile aren't always my favourites but I really like Arran's house style. This comes across more like a Highland as opposed to a Speyside. They used to (still do, I assume?) send all their casks to Bladnoch to mature in traditional dunnage warehouses for the first three years of their lives. An interesting practice and where I sense it gets that earthy, slight musty note from.