Arran 14 was the first whisky that sent me into "whisky euphoria." Before this, I knew I liked whisky, and had enjoyed the likes of HP12, Glenlivet 12, and Ardbeg 10. But this Arran, it made me say "whoa, this is heavenly and I'm about to begin a passionate new journey with this thing called whisky."
This was my first Connosr review, and as a whisky noob I definitely got carried away with my scoring, or so I think I did. We'll find out when i start examining this dram in depth. I have now returned a few years and many wonderful whisky experiences later to see if this Arran continues to amaze me like it did before.
Bottle has been opened 2 weeks and is just over half full (yes it's going to go fast. Hopefully i can restrain myself for a few months to see what air does to it.) Neat in a glencairn, it has been sitting patiently for half an hour. No water.
Nose: Definitely get more of the sherry cask over the bourbon cask in the nose. Candied cherries, marzipan, chocolate, orange peel, and creamy apricot jam. Citrus fruits without the acidity. The longer I nose this, more and more vanilla comes out. Vanilla ice cream with apricot, peach and orange peel. What is really interesting though is a small whiff of smoked salmon grilled on a wooden plank. Interesting layer to a predominantly fruity, vanilla nose.
Palate: Very creamy texture. Loads of apricot, candied cherry, marzipan and vanilla, with some sherry and grapes coming later, followed along with some lemon juice on grilled tilapia. The nose had more sherry cask notes, palate seems to have more bourbon cask notes with all that vanilla. I appreciate how both bourbon and sherry casks work together without overpowering each other yet both distinctly present.
Finish: Vanilla ice cream, followed by creamy smoke. Nothing like medicinal, iodine smoke like from Laphroig. This is a creamy, vanilla smoke. It reminds me very much of a mild, vanilla flavoured Acid or Tatiana cigar.
Overall: Still a top 3 whisky for me! This will always have a permanent place on the shelf.
@Victor Indeed it's interesting how 4 years and a slightly different barrel selection (I believe the 10 is mostly bourbon with just a touch of refill sherry) makes such a difference. I kind of enjoy the sprightly malty nature of the 10 but I can see that it would not please everyone. I have to say though if you haven't tried it in some years that the quality has improved quite a bit.
@cricklewood - I also liked the 10 more than most seem to. One that is under the radar a tad but would give the likes of Glenfiddich and Glenmorangie a bit of a bloody nose (in my humble opinion of course).