Today we're reviewing our first two bottlings of Arran for the site.
North Star Spirits Arran 9 Year Old (Series 17)
This 9 year old Arran spent its life maturing in a oloroso barrique. There were 210 bottles released.
Initially we’re finding the nose is very fruity and we’re getting green apple, strawberries, and orange. Giving it a little air and we find some basil, tobacco, and a sugary sweetness that reminds us of vanilla, but is hard to nail down as it seems to be there one second and gone the next.
On the palate we’re getting candied orange peel, bitter chocolate and treacle syrup. Going back to it the treacle becomes more like golden syrup. There’s also some toffee and bitter chocolate. This has a good mouth feel that is smooth and syrupy with a some black pepper heat on the finish.
Nose (with water)
The reduced nose has lost most of the fruity notes and are replaced with sweet burnt/caramelised toffee bordering on treacle. There’s also some tobacco and a touch of saltiness in the background.
Palate (with water)
The reduced palate is similar to the nose and the candied orange peel is lost. The dominant notes are still sweet, but again like the nose the sweetness is now caramelised toffee. There’s also now a hint of nuttiness in the background. The peppery heat / alcohol is dampened, but not to the point of being too watery. Dilution doesn't destroy the dram but it doesn’t necessarily benefit it either. Medium finish.
Very pleasant dram, that’s smooth and versatile. We’ve had the suggestion this whisky would make a good old fashioned. It’s not how we’d drink it, but each to their own. Personally, we’d drink it without water as we’re are happy to deal with the extra alcohol bite to get the pre diluted flavours. Either way cracking dram at a good price.
Adelphi Isle of Arran 9 Year Old Cask #2221
This 9 year old Arran spent its life maturing in a 1st fill bourbon barrel. There were 220 bottles released.
Woah, this is great. There’s strawberries, oranges, black cherries... and we could go on, but we’ll just describe this as Rowantrees Fruit Pastilles. With air we also find some some oak and a touch of saltiness.
Very fruity on the palate, but most prominently we’re getting blood red orange juice or more specifically San Pellegrino Aranciata. The bourbon cask influence comes through to us as Hagen Daas vanilla ice cream. There’s also some warm tobacco, turmeric, chocolate and ginger.
Nose (with water)
The reduced nose has less fruit and more candy sweetness like salted caramel, chocolate and honey. Giving it time and air and we’re able to pick out a slight note of orange peel, but it’s very faint. We’re also finding the woodiness is more noticeable.
Palate (with water)
With water this is Delmonte orange juice, sugar cane, and some candied ginger. This has a medium length, but very pleasant finish with lots of fruit and sweet notes lingering on the tongue.
This is very good. We recommend drinking this with and without water as either option is delicious, but both different enough to warrant experimentation. It’s another 8.5/10 for us... Now how do we justify another two bottle purchases??
- 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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