Arran is one of the latest entries in the ultra-secular world of Scottish distilleries, having their premises opened in 1995. Along the process of maturation, Arran releases new limited edition, able to assess the level of maturity of the distillate and to keep the curious drinker updated on the state of the art. This year, for example, the first 17yo has been release (we’re looking forward to try it at the Milano Whisky Festival, at the Beija Flor stand), today we dive into this bottling of 2013, a 16 years aged in a mix of ex-bourbond and ex-sherry, limited to 9000 bottles.
N: on the nose Arran can be rich and flourishing. Indeed this is immediately wide open and enveloping, whilst the mix of bourbon/sherry barrels multiplies the hints for our analysis. On one side there is a pronounced vanilla driven creaminess but also mulled wine; we find the ex-sherry quota quite “drying”, providing some more balance; Pandoro (typical Italian Christmas cake, we’re Italians after all), almond paste, bit of caramel, Zuppa Inglese (today we’re surrounded by Italian desserts). On the other side tons of fruits: creamy pear, a hint of red fruits, raising, apricot and even a bit of tropical fruit. The malt is fresh, “alive”, it seems very organic still evolving, nothing seems dehydrated. A top nose.
M: despite being in a context full of richness, the palate normalizes narrowing the battle field and placing the super fruit notes on the side. Indeed the creamy side prevails (crème brulè, Zuppa inglese, walker butter biscuits, tarte tatin), followed by a crescendo of malty notes and flames of dried fruit (Hazelnut). A smudge of nutmeg.
F: long and intense, still buttery and malty. Rich of dried fruit (hazelnut and walnut).
At this point we tried several drams of the Lochranza distillery and we realized that, despite an ex-Amarone wine that we haven’t really digested, we haven’t tried anything modest nor anonym. Arran has the virtue of being a malt with strong personality that even an experienced connoisseur could recognize blindfolded. Furthermore the bottling we tasted were marked by a vast generosities of tastes and aromas; and it seems (but it’s pure speculation here) that with age this characteristic grows even more. Let’s enjoy it, hence: 87/100.
Recommended soundtrack: Archive – Lights