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Arran Robert Burns Single Malt

Average score from 6 reviews and 7 ratings 82

Arran Robert Burns Single Malt

Product details

  • Brand: Arran
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%

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Arran Robert Burns Single Malt

According to their website, Arran is the only whisky company authorized by the World Burns Federation to produce a whisky with the Ploughman Poet's name on it. Arran have the authorisation to use Burns's likeness and siganture in recognition of being the closest Distillery to Burns's birthplace of Alloway in Ayrshire. Burns indeed would have seen Arran most days from his home village. It's not the most far-fetched marketing schtick I've ever heard, but maybe I just have a soft spot for Arran. This malt is very well priced in Ontario, running about $52/bottle at the time of this writing (October, 2020). That's less money than Glenlivet 12, Glenfiddich 12, Aberfeldy 12, and others of that ilk. Let's see what's going on here:

Tasted neat from a Glencairn glass

  • Nose: vanilla, apples, floral, a bit of honey, maybe some oak spice, a faint solvent/spirit aroma
  • Palate: apples, honey, vanilla, graham crackers, oak, a hint of almonds
  • Finish: short, slightly drying, honey, vanilla, apples, cinnamon, lemon zest

When I reviewed the Arran 10 Year, I found it quite "Irish" in character and I'm also finding that here. I hope that's not an insult to the memory of Rabbie Burns. I quite like this whisky, and I like its price point even more. This is an honest whisky at a fair price. It's a fine social dram, and it's a great introduction to unpeated malt whisky for anyone new to single malt scotch. Recommended.

Nice. If this bottle doesn't appear at our club's Burns Night supper this year, then I don't deserve to be prez.

@MadSingleMalt - The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, so I've heard.


This new version of Arran's entry-level malt has been beefed up to 43% and the extra weight seems to have helped.

On the nose it is fresh, green, and malty. Banana skins, fresh-cut wood, touch of gingerbread...very appealing in a light sort of way. After a while, faint woodsmoke way in the background (though not a trace of peat).

Medium-bodied and supple on the tongue. Malty-sweet with vanilla cream and then some prickliness from the oak. A bit of a bitter edge due to its youth (tastes closer to 5 years than 10).

Finishes with lingering oak and under-ripe fruit. Balance-wise, it makes up for its youthfulness with a clean, tasty character and easy drinkability. A repeat buy.

I've found the Arrans I've tried to bit hit/miss and middle of the road. Th 12 YO CS was not to my liking but I have a SMWS bottling that is fabulous, and their old 100 proof was middling to good.

I would be hesitant to try something from them at 43%.

Thanks for the review. Arran is my favorite distillery I will have to find this newer release. Their 14yo is absolutely delicious.


This single malt was named after Scotland’s most famous poet. That they are allowed to use both his image and autograph on the label has everything to do with the fact that the Arran distillery is the patron of the World Burns Federation, since 2000. Arran has released both a blend and a single malt under this name. We try the single malt. That must be Arran, right?

Light and rather innocent nose on vanilla pudding, apple sauce, pear drops and freshly cut grass. A fresh spring whisky on the nose, I would say. But I must repeat: rather innocent.

Nicely creamy on the palate and feisty – although rather bitter. The fruit goes toward oranges, a tad zesty, but also quite grainy. Smells young (probably is young). Mildly floral too. Well… it is all somewhat ‘small’ if you know what I mean.

The finish offers some woodsmoke, so after a short while it dies on spices and apples.

A light aperitif whisky that suffers a bit from its young age in my opinion. I have had much better malts from this distillery. Thanks, Pat!


First opened on January 25, 2013, for our Robert Burns Dinner, this bottle* has sat untouched since, or at least untouched until this evening (April 5, 2013), when I poured myself two 25ml servings (one into my Glencairn 'Canadian' and one into my NEAT glass), and sat down the head and ears of a Lindt Dark Chocolate Easter Bunny (sure beats haggis...). I remember being very surprised by how light and gentle this dram was at our dinner, and I was looking forward to exploring it again.

The version of the Robert Burns Single Malt available in Canada is bottled at 40% ABV instead of 43% ABV, and comes in a very differently shaped bottle...also, I'm not entirely sure what kind of deal Arran struck with the World Burns Federation in order to get named as the 'Official' whisky of the Federation, but it seems to have been a good marketing move for them.

Colour: white wine ('Ayrshire Sunshine', according to the Arran website), with very slow and thick legs (about 2mm wide, and very closely spaced). I'd say this has to be the whisky's natural colour as it is very, very pale.

Nose: crisp pears, some grass, and faint traces of lemon

Palate: young (there is no age statement, but sweet, with some citrus, vanilla, and traces of white cake; medium bodied.

Finish: grapefruit pith(?), short, but very refreshing, with no unpleasant bite.

Balance: very nicely balanced - nothing uneven about this dram at all.

This really makes me want to try some more Arran expressions, and while I do have bottles of the Machrie Moor 2nd Edition (lightly peated), and the 12 year-old Cask Strength sitting on my shelf downstairs, I'll have to wait for a bit...and this bottle will stay tucked away on my shelf, in its box, safely away from the light, until Robert Burns Day 2014

  • It was actually the second bottle I'd picked up; I returned the first one because it had no front label, although I took a picture of it first for posterity.

@canuckonomist - Interesting! Based on your comment I went and check the LCBO's online inventory, and lo and behold, the Burns Malt entry featured a new photo and was listed at 43% ABV instead of 40% ABV.

I wonder if the batch they had for sale last year (with the different label) was bottled in 2011, and just reached their shelves in late 2012 / early 2013...I'll have to look for a bottle code on my existing bottle...

Regardless, hope you enjoy it tomorrow night (I assume that you'll be opening it for Burns Day).

Just picked up one this evening in Toronto, and lo, it's 43%! Perhaps they realized that they didn't need to water it down for the Canucks anymore.


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.


Nose: Gentle malt swirls with vanilla pods, granny smith apple peel, stewed peaches, pear drops and sugar icing all in a very summery , lots of fruit, and honey and sugar liquors.traces of lemongrass

Palate: Creamy vanilla, and malt, some wood spice, wee pepper, generally refreshing and sweet, with some stewed apple and dough

Finish: Spicy wood, malty and a hint of summer fruit, and chocolate.

A very nice summer dram, not very complex, but very elegant, and easy drinking. I would enjoy a sip of it on a lazy summer evening (In scotland) or even an Autom Evening in Israel. Nice, fresh, crisp.

Not bad!

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