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Arran Machrie Moor First Edition (Peated)

Average score from 5 reviews and 14 ratings 79

Arran Machrie Moor First Edition (Peated)

Product details

  • Brand: Arran
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 46.0%

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Arran Machrie Moor First Edition (Peated)

Note: this is a review of the 4th edition.

Nose: Smokey with a hint of salt. Palate: light and Smokey, with a dry finish. Overall a nice, lightly peated dram that is crisp. I prefer more peat and I think the ardbeg 10 is better, but this is lighter and easy drinking. Worth a try, and the story behind the artwork on the bottle is cool too.


First vapor: Cherry & soft salty smoke.

Nose: Soft and sweet peat of smoking olive oil or butter. Lemon curd and a soft vanilla-cherry; a bit of grassiness shows its age.

Palate: Grass/lemon and sea salt entrance; the zest & grass lasting for a while. As it dilutes, it eventually smoothens and sweetens to vanilla and candied green-apple. Peaks sharply with these, and then fades with salty sweet orange.

Finish: Soft coffee in the throat, lemon & sweet malt on the tongue, salty grass at back.

Of the 7 Arrans I have had, this is certainly most similar to their (other) youngest expression, the "Original". The difference is primarily the light peat, which mostly affects the nose. It is a soft and "dusty" kind of peat: like the smell of an old library/attic/antique store filled with wooden items. (Certainly not an ash/rubber kind of peat. Maybe pencil eraser.) The peat also adds that coffee in the finish; but it seems to have intensified the palate's grass and sour notes, probably due to the presence of more salt (or higher ABV). I appreciate the peat's effect in the nose and finish, but I miss the smoother, more balanced palate of the Original. This is where the Machrie Moor loses points. Incidentally, I find it much improved when warmer than usual drinking temperatures.

Aside from the Arran Original, the Machrie Moor bears most resemblance to Isle of Jura's Superstition. I marginally prefer the Machrie Moor because it does not display certain bitter (white peppery) notes.


Arran not only experimented with loads of wine finishes, they also launched a peated whisky under the name Machrie Moor. This is the name of the peat bog on the west coast of the island, where stone circles and menhirs from the Bronze Age can be found. The dog on the label of this bottle is Brag, which was leached to one of these stones by the mighty warrior Fingal. Or so the legend has it. Anyway, this is an Arran with 14 ppm, non chill-filtered and not coloured.

The nose is rather closed. It starts slightly salty on smoked halibut, olive oil and a bit of smoke. Some dried grasses. You will need to look hard to find any fruit. Patience delivers some coconut and apples. And a touch of vanilla. But unfortunately, it does nothing for me, this nose.

It redeems itself somewhat on the palate. A lot of citrus, followed by apples, pears, vanilla, violets, nicely countered by olive oil and stockfish (you know, the dried fish that you can nibble on for hours). Towards the end a slight bitterness as if from grapefruit emerges, as does a salty tang.

The finish, medium in length, emphasizes the mild peat and the brine.

The nose was terrible, but on the palate and finish, this turned out to be a pleasant whisky. Big thanks to my buddy Imanuel from Holland, who presented me with this bottle.


So, this one is the first Peated Arran released. Now peat being a sexy and very popular profile these days, this one sold like hot buns. It’s peated to 14 ppm, and was limited to 9000 btls.

Nose: Sweet peat, almost new make-ish,pear drops, and some apples.

Palate: Peat and smoke, some fruitiness and sweet maltiness. not very complex.

Finish: Smoke, and sweet cereals.

Bottom line:

A very young not very polished dram. Medium peated, and showing a lot of early age characteristics. I’d like to try that one in a few year’s time, aging would do it well,complexity wise, and will make it more rounded.

Hey galg

Have you been able to taste the second or even the third release? Would be highly interested in your opinion. Your bottle is maybe 6yo I guess?!



This is the peated Arran. Since 2004, the distillery produced some mildly peated spirit (14 ppm phenols) and now a limited release of 9000 bottles is made available.

Arran Machrie Moor (46%, OB 2011, 9000 btl.)

Nose: the expected notes of a very young whisky: sweet malt, pear drops, some coconut. Artificial in its fruitiness. The peat comes second, it’s more of a mild grassy / smokey undertone. A few yeasty notes as well. Topped off by fresh citrus.

Mouth: overly sour start (lemon), then some peat smoke, then back to sweeter notes like apple candy. Fades on a bitter (tonic) & salty (liquorice) combo. The palate has the same problem as the nose: it tries a lot of different tricks but none of them really work. Finish: now developing an enjoyable pastry-like quality alongside the peat smoke.

This Arran Machrie Moor is clearly not about heavy peat, it’s not about juicy fruits, it’s not about complexity, it’s not about balance... I fear this is simply a way to widen the range, like the wine finishes. I’d stick to the excellent Arran Peacock or Arran 14yo.

@WhiskyNotes, I appreciate your morsels of educations now and then, such as "..expected notes of a very young whisky: sweet malt, pear drops, some coconut..". Do you know the age of this malt?

I often enjoy sweet and lively whiskies, where I attribute this character to the whiskey; but perhaps it is instead the character of "young". Thanks for the very edifying review(s).

"Since 2004, the distillery produced some mildly peated spirit" so Machrie Moor should be no more than 6-7 years old.

Young whisky tends to be sweet and lively indeed, but also a bit predictable and simple, which is why I usually prefer older expressions.

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