Today we’ve got a couple of reviews from a distillery we don’t drink enough of...
Arran 8yo Watt Whisky
A 2012 Arran that was matured in an ex-bourbon barrel for eight years before being bottled in 2021. The outturn was 173 bottles.
We’re getting initial aromas of wood, freshly sawn. There’s a sweetness hiding in the background, honey-like, with some tropical fruit notes of pineapple and a little guava showing through after some air. It’s reasonably restrained on the nose, but it does open up after some time. We’re now getting something zingy, citric acid, along with a herbal, mint-like aroma too. We’re finding oat milk, green apple peel and the faintest hint of coconut shavings in the background.
It’s very zesty, lemons and limes galore, along with a simple fruit salad of fresh pineapple and mango drizzled in sugar syrup. The palate then continues into something deeper, it reminds us very clearly of our younger years, with the distinct flavour of a waffle cone without the ice cream. That flavour lingers into the medium length finish. There’s a little boozy apricot now, the alcohol somewhat too powerful for the lighter, fruiter flavours, but still very pleasant. Going back we’re getting some fizzy apple sweeties, a light apple cider vinegar and a little oak to back it all up.
Nose (with water)
We’re getting more barley sugars now, thyme sprigs, creme brûlée and sponge cake. The nose has opened up, but it’s mostly sugars now and we’ve lost some of those lighter, fruiter notes we had before. We’re getting some fondant icing, a little melon and some fresh flowers.
Palate (with water)
Aged sweet wine, we’ve stripped back some of the grape sugars and added a balance of oak. There’s some tangerine, lime juice and a touch of spice following into the finish. It’s got a nice floral flavour now, elderflower perhaps? The alcohol is more in balance now, although for us it’s still slightly too powerful.
Restrained at first, but opens up with air and time. Lots of tropical fruits and citrus appear, but the alcohol is slightly too powerful and out of balance for us. Water helps it out somewhat, giving us a very quaffable dram perfect for a warm day.
Arran 7yo Yalumba Viognier Cask (Fishermans Retreat)
Price: £55.00 (50cl)
This is a 7 year old single cask Arran which has spent its life in a Yalumba Viognier white wine cask. 408 bottles were produced at a slightly reduced 50.0%.
The wine cask influence is instantly apparent on the nose. We’re getting orange tango, a hint of yeast, apricots, peaches, some fresh mint and pine wood. There’s a nuttiness on the nose too, pistachios maybe? It does have a slight salinity to balance the fruits. Going back we’re getting a little toffee, fudge and light brown sugar aromas, along with a touch of butter.
Citrus and tropical fruit forward, mangos, pineapple, lychee, peaches, tangerines, you name it. There’s a fair whack of wood on the back palate, but the alcohol is relatively well integrated. The finish has a decent length but we’re disappointed in the mouth feel, it’s very thin and lacking. The white wine is the focal point of this dram, giving the whisky a real refreshing taste.
Nose (with water)
Water brings out a funk, reminding us of dessert wine. More wood and spice notes appear, hazelnuts and some more of those fresh pine aromas. The white wine influence is still present, just pushed slightly further back, but we’re finding those grape and citrus aromas are still there.
Palate (with water)
Similar to the nose, water brings a woodier, drier sensation to the palate, but it’s not overwhelming. The tropical fruits are still showing up in spades, and we’re finding the mouthfeel has improved too - there’s a honey butter flavour/texture coming through, giving it a more luscious mouthfeel. We’re finding the water helps the palate, resulting in a richer, more complex dram. Going back we’re getting a little caramelised white chocolate too.
Some say that the cask is the most impactful part when producing whisky, and this is a great example proving that point. The wine cask is front and centre here which we’re not totally opposed too. The spirit is somewhat lost behind the cask, but it’s resulted in a very pleasant dram none the less. Water helps to round out the palate, so we’d thoroughly recommend adding a few drops. We’d happily have another dram, but we don’t know if we could drink it all night.
- 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
- 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
- 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
- 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
- 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
- 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
- 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
- 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
- 2 - Pour it out
- 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.
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