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Well, Robbie Burns Day was two days ago (on Fri Jan 25) so I'm late writing about this one. Last night, our West Side Whisky Society cracked open a bottle to start our evening and it made for a great dram to prep the palate, and to celebrate this time of year (nestled exactly in between two Burns dinners I'm attending, one last week and one this week!) Haggis overload.
This malt comes from Isle of Arran Distillers - it is five years old and, I believe, matured in both fresh and refill bourbon barrels. Now, how does the Arran Malt get to just slap the name and picture of Scotland's favourite son on their bottle, when no-one else can? They were invited in 2001 by the World Burns Federation to become a patron and so received this endorsement. Even though Robbie Burns may never have stepped onto the Isle of Arran, the distillery is the closest one geographically to Ayrshire, his place of birth. The Robert Burns brand also extends to a blend, also crafted by Arran Distillers, untried by me.
The colour is very pale yellow, extremely light in colour as befits its youth. On the nose, it is fresh and exciting: ginger, herbs (sage, oregano), lemon, ripe pears, very clean and crisp. A drop of water brings out more malt, herbs and some new floral notes.
We have more fruits on the palate (green apples and pears), very malty, citrusy and honeyed. Again, very light and sweet, and spicier with a drop of water, which is welcome.
The finish is fairly long - but not deep. Rather, it is very spicy and bright. This is a very summery whisky, lovely (and easy) to drink but not terribly challenging. Again, it made for a great starter to an evening of many fantastic drams (some of which I will write about in the near future), and would make a great starter single malt for those just starting to explore this world.