Part 2 of our head-to-head with the new and similarly priced Arrans. This one is not necessarily new, as the sherry cask is, but it's new for me since I never saw it in it's old packaging, and it sits right next to the sherry cask in the line-up. This is aged in a 125L quarter cask and bottled at cask strength.
This has also been open for 3 months and is also 80% full. Neat in a Glencairn.
Nose: Oooh, very much Arran here. Loads of vanilla with plentiful notes of tropical fruits. Pineapple, mango, banana, papaya, a tad oaky, covered in a vanilla cream glaze. Reminds me a lot of the old 12yo cask strength.
Palate: Oh man, this is nice. I need to be on a beach in a hammock right now. More tropical fruit notes, with more banana, mango, pineapple, etc. And again, a vanilla cream glaze. Chewing it brings out some white grapes. It's "hotter" than the sherry cask. There's a very small amount of "salt" or something here too. Like Talisker but much, much more subtle. Oaky too, something I enjoy about quarter casks is the noticeable oak.
Finish: Young oak on the finish, with some white pepper, less tropical. Nice transition.
Overall: Wow, very good, much better than the sherry cask. I could see adding some water to it in the future to kind of make it more of a "relaxed" experience, due to it's tropical nature. I think Arran is at it's best when it doesn't drown it's spirit in super active wine casks.
Again though....$84USD....this one I would possibly consider buying again, but at that price there are a lot of very good choices. And the old 12yo cask strength was much cheaper, with an age statement.