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Icons of Arran The 'Westie'

Average score from 3 reviews and 5 ratings 85

Icons of Arran The 'Westie'

Product details

  • Brand: Arran
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • Series: Icons of Arran
  • ABV: 46.0%
  • Vintage: 1998
  • Bottles: 6000

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Icons of Arran The 'Westie'

Arran distillery is the only distillery on the Isle of Arran. It was founded in 1994 by Harold Currie and was officially opened in 1995. Most of the production goes into single malt whisky; however a small proportion is used for Arran’s range of blended whiskies, such as Lochranza Blend, Robert Burns Blend and Arran Gold Single Malt Whisky Cream Liqueur. This limited edition was distilled in 1998 and drawn in 2011 from 22 ex-sherry hogsheads. ‘The Westie’ was named after Ruaraidh, distillery manager James MacTaggart’s West Highland Terrier.

The nose is light, quite malty, and gets fruitier along the way. There are plenty of orange flavours, followed by lemon and honey. Soft wood spice is making itself felt, too, and a light tartness covers it all.

The palate is sweeter than the nose and quite silky. Lemon and honey flavours are back, followed by hints of vanilla and apricots. Towards the end this gets rather spicy.

The finish is pleasantly long, warming, and rather dry at the very end.

This was my very first Arran and it made for a great drinking experience. All in all this was smooth and silky, and while I enjoyed the palate most the overall result was very well balanced and satisfactory.


The Icons of Arran is a limited series of 12yo releases which highlight different typical elements of the island. First there was Arran Peacock, next Arran The Rowan Tree and now Arran The Westie, a tribute to Ruaraidh, the West Highland Terrier of the distillery manager.

It is composed of 22 oloroso sherry hogsheads from 1998.

Arran 12 yo 1998 ‘The Westie’(46%, OB 2011, 6000 btl.)

Nose: fruity and slightly acidic, with sour cherries, orange zest and lemon sherbet. Something of a soda lemonade as well. Hardly any oloroso influence if you ask me. Fresh oak. Hints of honey. A few floral notes too. Mouth: a malty centre with spicy and nutty overtones. Again a zesty kind of citrus flavour. Growing warmer with vanilla, apricots and more noticeable oak. Lemon pie. Finish: medium long, drier, with leather and spices. Traces of mocha.

Quite a smooth Arran, this Westie. Fresh, fruity and convincing as a whole. The oloroso casks must have been second fill or rather third fill, because there’s hardly any sherry to be found.


This is the third bottling in the series of “Icons of Arran”. The Previous two bottlings (The Peacock, and the Rowan Tree) were both reviewed by me last year, and were very good. This expression is named after Ruaraidh h (pronounced Roo-ree) the West Highland Terrier belonging to our Distillery Manager James MacTaggart. This limited edition bottling was drawn from 22 ex-Sherry Hogsheads distilled in 1998 and specially selected by James MacTaggart. The bottle design is lovely, and the packaging is very nice, now let’s see what’s under the hood…

Icons of Arran, The Westie, 46% ABV , 6000 bottles, £ 38 Nose: a very interesting combination of lemon zest zing , some toasted oak, a sweet, sugary toffee kind of feeling to it, no big sherry notes here. Fresh. Vibrant and balanced.

Palate: Sweet sugars up front, with the wood backing it up, introducing some bitter cocoa notes, as well as touches of vanilla and butter. As the time passes , the cocoa and bitter chocolate is more evident, in addition to some spice.

Finish : Bitter cocoa and wood, on top of some malty notes, and spices.

Bottom line:

This is a fine dram, though i must say, i was hoping for something a bit like the “Rowan Tree” with some heavier Sherry influence, and this one is not quite the same profile. It’s a well integrated whisky, with some fresh zest, as well as wood, cocoa and malt influences. It’s really balanced, but it is not as good as the last edition in my honest opinion.

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