Scotland in Miniature
That’s how the island of Arran, off the southwest Scottish coast, is described. With highlands, lowlands, and a beautiful coastline, Arran has a lot to recommend it for a visit. The fact that the Isle of Arran (the sole distillery on the island), produces The Arran Malt collection, an exceptional lineup of scotch, just enhances the reasons to head there for a vacation.
Arran used to house numerous illicit stills that produced high quality spirit, but they couldn’t compete with the mainland and eventually closed. Isle of Arran is the first distillery on the island in over 160 years. Opened in 1994, Isle of Arran has been slowly turning out whisky so that now they have a range of ages and expressions to offer with a soft and salty quality to them…think of a much calmer ocean influence that the Orkney or Islay distilleries like Highland Park or Ardbeg.
Enough waxing on…let’s get to tasting!
Arran Malt Collection Tasting
At Gordon’s DTX, November 14, 2018
Arran Malt 10yr
- Nose: caramel, apples, hint of pineapple and cinnamon
- Taste: starts with caramel apples, flash of leather, light and bright body
- Finish: doesn’t linger, light sea breezes at the tail end
- Comments: the taste flashes through its flavors rapidly and surprisingly
- Nose: menthol, pine, light brown sugar, vanilla cream
- Taste: soft, salted caramel sauces, light baking spices
- Finish: salt lingers long
- Comments: softly spiced, quite interesting
- Nose: caramel toffee, herbal, vanilla, light pears
- Taste: cream, oily, sea breezes, eucalyptus
- Finish: fades salt and vanilla
- Comments: the salty quality at the end is a nice contrast to the sweet start
Arran Amarone Cask
50%ABV, Type of wine cask
- Nose: black cherries, pine on the sea, light raisins, caramel underneath
- Taste: starts oily and thick, sweet caramel, dark chocolate
- Finish: sweet fades to menthol, then ends with salt
- Comments: has lots of layers, dark chocolate and cherries are so good together!
Arran 10 yr Cask Strength
54.2%ABV, finished in bourbon barrels
- Nose: sea breezes behind vanilla, cream, very soft
- Taste: starts sweet brown sugar, hit of heat, then cinnamon and cloves
- Finish: fades slowly to salted caramel that lingers long
- Comments: bourbon influence is strong, beach influence peeks out, it’s like if Kentucky was next to the ocean
If you want a sense of what it’s like to tour Arran, Anne Gavin (one of my fellow bloggers at OutlanderCast.com) described her journey in a series of articles called The Scotland Diaries. If you want soft, beachy, yet complex scotch, any one of the Arran Malt collection choices will deliver. Either way, a real or virtual visit to Arran will be sure to please!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!