Lucie Stroesser is well known to most whisky lovers. Until recently she was the Brand Ambassador for Arran. One of the last tastings she hosted, before returning to her native France, was in Belgium. Shop owner Jan Vissers asked her to bring some cask samples to select the next private cask for his Whisky Shop Zammel. It’s not his first, mind you. Remember his grand Arran 1996 from 2013? I do, for it was the best Arran I have tried to date (and I have tried almost 70). Anyway, this time around he selected a 12 years old sherry hogshead, distilled on 26th July 2006 and bottled on 14th January 2019. Only 315 bottles are (were?) available.
Immensely aromatic nose on plums, raisins, fresh figs, red berries, pears and even some mango and papaya. I am transported to a tropical island. Cloves and cinnamon enter the fray. Milk chocolate with mocha filling. Marzipan and a hint of coconut. There is no end in sight. Very rich and creamy. It’s going to have to fail miserably on the palate for it to not end in my personal top three of Arran… Hurray!
Silky soft, creamy and quite feisty! All the fruit from the nose returns, but in a stew. Dark, sweet and delicious. What a balance! The very sweet fruit is counter footed by a mild bitter edge from the oak. Chewing tobacco and walnuts kick in. The spices give it a lovely warmth. Pepper, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Really? Will this never stop? Wonderfully complex. Add water? Nuts!
The finish is very long, dark, sweet and spicy and leaves the mouth completely parched.
Outstanding! A bottle is only 85 EUR. I ordered two immediately, because this is a gem I want to savor for weeks to come.