No longer the new kid on the block, Arran distillery has grown and taken it's place among the ranks of long established operations.
While they've had an NAS cask finished range since day one, their core age stated range is what drew in many fans. This island distillery produces a fruity make that seems to retain a certain edge and a slight maritime character (it's not Pulteney but still seems of a place).
The 14 year old was the long time darling, offering great value for the price. To the chagrin of many, they have recently dropped this expression after a revamping of their line-up.
This was a sample I saved from my last bottle.
Nose: Sharp in a way that makes you take notice. Sweet sherry, faint pineapple, spicy French oak & cumin/caraway. Plum doughnuts (paczki), freshly cut pine branches, a touch of linseed, fermented honey, a briney feel on the tail end.
Palate: Full bodied, lots of oak, cappuccino or mocha coffee. Croissants, honey lozenges, fruit leather. There is pleasant bitterness almost grapefruit pith.
Finish:Astringent oak, caraway, sea salt, ginger and a little licorice root. Finally a bit of peach and blond tobacco (like Armagnac)
Notes:Fresh, spicy and fruity, this is a rather unique dram.
An example to follow for newer and older distillers, this whisky has a lot going for it, the mix of cask types is welll integrated if leaning a little too much on the oak. I wonder if many fans of this will be content with what is offered in it's place.
@BlueNote the 18 is wonderful, it does lose a little of the edge I liked in the younger versions but that's a minor trade-off.
I did pick up a couple of bottles at a good price during the Zyn sale last year but locally the 18 retails for double the price of the 14 which is ridiculous.
The 21 has also been highly recommended by some of my friends.