The Isle of Arran distillery produces a fine array of scotch in their Arran Malt Collection, a lineup that celebrates its “Scotland in miniature” location.

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, Isle of Arran
Photo credit:


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


Arran Malt Collection, Isle of Arran


Arran 14yr


  • 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


Arran Malt Collection, Isle of Arran


Arran 18yr


  • 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 Malt Collection, Isle of Arran


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 Malt Collection, Isle of Arran


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


Arran Malt Collection, Isle of Arran
Just one of the stunning views Anne Gavin shared in her Scotland diaries series (Photo credit: Anne Gavin,


If you want a sense of what it’s like to tour Arran, Anne Gavin (one of my fellow bloggers at 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!


p.s. Shameless plug (I’m not proud)…please check out my How They Made It series at, including my latest post for Praline Pumpkin Pie. It’s a good read (if I do say so myself).

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