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This is batch # 1 of Arran's new core expression.
Nose: at full strength, it is warm, butter-nutty (peanut brittle?), somewhat closed. After adding water it becomes fudgy, slightly herbal, and much fruitier (melons, pears). A touch of licorice. Very inviting.
Taste: at full strength it fairly explodes on the tongue, first with that lively Arran fruitiness, then with warm, rich sherry. With water the alcohol is of course softened, letting that lovely, fruity malt expand. A bit salty, with considerable sherry presence. Somewhat like a more balanced a'bunadh. Very rich, mouth-filling stuff.
Finish: becomes somewhat tart, thanks to the sherry casks. Leaves pleasant lingering flavours of sherry and oak.
Balance: funny how I've tried so many wine finishes from Arran but this is my first sherry-matured bottle. A heavyweight island malt from one of my favourite distilleries; this one doesn't disappoint.