Arran is a top 3 distillery for me. Possibly my favorite. Out of the 14 whiskies I have right now, 4 are Arran. Needless to say, I like Arran.
This 12yo CS has been on my wish list for a while and I finally found one a few weeks ago. This is batch 5, a large batch relatively speaking, with 18,000 bottles released in May 2015.
Bottled at 52.9%, this has been opened for 2 weeks and is about 3/4 full. This review sample will be neat in a glencairn, and has been sitting for about 30min
Nose: Tropical fruits. Grilled pineapple, mango, black grapes, ripe citrus. Definately vanilla white cake and honey. Near the end there is a tad bit of that sea salt and brine note that I enjoy so much from the 14 but it is not as prominent here as the fruit and vanilla cake overwhelm it. Sweet, no alcohol nip at all.
Palate: Loads of very ripe tropical fruit. Apricot, mango, mandarin oranges, pineapple, black grapes, figs, a bit of almond butter and marzipan. Creamy texture and no burn, no one would guess this was nearly 53%. The one thing I miss? That island sea breeze. I really want some salinity or brine that I am accustomed to in Arran whiskies.
Finish: Ripe oranges and vanilla white cake. Medium-long in length.
Overall: This is enjoyable. I need to be in the Bahamas drinking this. I might save the rest for summer. It's a bit of a one trick pony as there isn't much savory to balance out the tropical sweetness. It longs for some island sea notes. Thankfully what is there is good. It does not need water at all. However, it does need air. I was underwhelmed when I opened this a few weeks ago. Air has really opened it up (this glass also sat for a while.) I will say this against it, at $70usd, Laphroig 10CS destroys this. (Different styles I know but same price.) Also, would I buy this again if the 14 were sitting next to it for a similar/lower price? Absolutely not. The 14 is much more balanced and complex (it's just not cask strength.)