Time for some island whisky's again brought to me (and therefore you in words and pics) courtesy of Steve Rush at the Whisky Wire in the form of a Tweet Tasting. This time we get to spend some time with relative newcomer Arran distillery.* Four whisky's of varying ages and strengths, the free keyring and "Enjoy!" label were a nice touch & great size samples...if I'd been more organised I could have invited others around to join the tasting, still plenty left too! So without further ado...the thoughts.
The regular 10 year Old was up first. To me this felt slightly young or perhaps the wood used had an effect but there's fairly fresh woody aftershave up f forest glades, cobwebbed sheds musty apple lofts on the nose Its fairly fiery, sweet, peppery perhaps. A touch of water brings out spicy sandalwood. Fairly dry with woody spice. Not one I'll drink again soon.
Much more complex on the nose the 14 y/o (also 46%) Pearskin, vanilla, cardamom, freshly made paper. Finishing in sherry and bourbon brought a good range of flavours to the table. Its quite subtle - handled well it'd make a nuanced cocktail. Much gentler to taste than the 10 y/o, more rounded rich grape flavours, vanilla but still plenty of fire & oaky swwetness followed by fruity pear. Adding water brings out honey drenched egg custard tart with a subtle orange blossom water finish, nice. Available for a not unreasonable £40 at MoM (with free glass!).
The 12 y/o cask strength (53.9%) is completely different, robust earthy spices,meaty umami notes - could be the 100% sherry hogshead aging. Juniper berries & sea salt encrusted old tarpaulin appear on airing. A rich velvet mouthfeel, plenty of heat, some lemon pith, more of that meaty note from the nose. Rich sweet deep woodiness,leather as it opens up that apple strudel others got on the nose comes through, especially sultanas. Its complex but ultimately rewarding.£50.55 @MoM
The new millennium cask release 53.5% is fairly subtle on the nose, sweet crème caramel and white pepper. Pretty fiery adding water really opens up the nose...Turkish delight, rosewater and oak smoke. Perhaps slightly pricey at £70
A really interesting range of similar but different whiskys, the14 y/o pips 12/yo cask strength to the post for me,with millennium cask worth a taste but I was't keen on the 10 year old. Thanks as always to Steve for organising and Arran for the freebies!
But that's not the end of the post. Whilst we're in an Arran frame of mind its time I opened my Brewdog Arran aged Paradox. Its a bruiser of a beer at 15%. Dark ebony brown with Orange tan head. Sweet caramel, vanilla and booze on the nose which I recognise from the whisky. Sweet vanilla, umami, full bodied, medium carbonation. Quite alcoholic but well done.A good digestif!
*Arran being thought to mean "high place"...hence the post title