When whisky is aged in wine casks, the purists get worried: wanna see that this additional maturation is nothing more than a way to give dignity to a pretty weak distillate with the use of very active barrels? Perhaps is true, actually it’s definitely true from a general perspective, but some experiments from time to time had really great results (the Longrow aged in Barolo wine, or an Arran aged in Trebbiano d’Abruzzo a prime examples). Let’s test this Arran finished in Amarone casks and bottled in 2011, bottled at 50%. The color is dark amber.
N: very pungent alcohol, even bit annoying. The age is not disclosed but it reveals its youth in the malty notes. Fresh and airily fruity (prunes, dried apricots). Raisins in spirit! The additional maturation in wine cask appears mainly in a woody side, not well integrated, a bit off and a bit brutal. The nice Arran sugary malt resists, perhaps aged mainly in bourbon (vanilla?). A note of wine appears: acid, not really harmonic and it increases with time.
P: the Amarone finish is immediately very aggressive, lots of wood and a bit of wine. Dry and quite alcoholic. It cleans the palate with notes of dried fruits and malt/grass. Not very complex, but the hint of dried prunes is clear. A lot of acidity and perhaps a quaff of vanilla that disappears immediately. Peppery.
F: extremely clean; still quite dry and we find bitter almonds, pepper and hay. Not short but not really exciting.
Mmmmmm, sure this is a very intense whisky, with strong flavors, and without any doubt some palates will really appreciate it; to be honest, we haven’t really got seduces by the combination… We found it a bit too alcoholic, not very complex, with an excessive wood influence; it’s saved from the catastrophe, in our opinion, because the Arran malt, which is in constant improvement (let’s not forget the distillery is active since only 18 years), comes out fighting the wine side. Anyway, a lot of intensity, not for faint hearts: 78/100 is the number.
Recommended soundtrack: Raphael Gualazzi & Camille – L’amie d’un italien.