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.
@cricklewood, that is an interesting observation that you make that you have found the Arran 10 yo to have improved in recent years. I am always interested in tasting the latest iterations of just about every whisk(e)y available because they do indeed often change. My last taste of Arran 10 yo was about 5 years ago. When I didn't care for the whisky the first time my follow-up tastes are going to have to come from samples from friends' bottles or from free or included-in-a-bigger-package paid commercial tastings. I will not be buying a bottle. Sure, I'd love to taste some Arran 10 that I will like. But even given the opportunity to buy some Arran 10 from a batch I like I am still much more likely to go for the gold standard, Arran 14.
@RianC, yes the 10 is not to everyone's liking but it has a lot of character, albeit still showing some rough edges of youth. The nose shows some of the characteristics that will come to fruition in the 14. Makes me want to try it again.