Tour of Isle of Arran Distillery. Lochranza, Scotland. £15.
Over the course of the year, the whiskies from Isle of Arran Distillery have consistently been fantastic. Prior to embarking on Whisky a Day, I hadn’t come across them before as they are still a relatively smallish producer that isn’t widely available in Australia. Boy, have they been one of the finds of the year. So when planning my trip to Scotland, Arran was at the top of my list of distilleries I’d like to visit.
I received a very warm welcome from Richard, Stuart and the guys at Arran, not to mention all of the folks I encountered on this beautiful island. And so, onto the tastings…
Whisky #308: The Arran Malt 10 Year Old Single Malt. Isle of Arran, Scotland. ABV: 46%.
Colour: Bright yellow gold.
Nose: Creamy vanilla and toasted banana bread.
Palate: Fruity, cloves and other spices come through too.
Finish: Salty and spicy, medium length.
Whisky #309: The Arran Malt 12 Year Old Cask Strength Single Malt. Isle of Arran, Scotland. ABV: 54%.
Colour: Orangey gold.
Nose: Sultanas and toast. So basically a freshly roasted slice of fruit toast.
Palate: Sweet dried fruit flavours dance around your palate. Rich molasses too.
Finish: The warmth builds with intensity, leaving a delicious lingering tingle all around your mouth.
Whisky #310: The Arran Malt 1998 Single Cask Sherry Cask Single Malt. Isle of Arran, Scotland. ABV: 54.1%.
Colour: A dull brassy hue.
Nose: Rich fruit cake.
Palate: Rich dried fruit, muscatels, molasses.
Finish: Coffee notes, long lingering warmth – now that’s the “Scottish central heating” my tour guide Richard was talking about!
Overall comments: Looking back at my notes, it looks like the 12 Year Old Cask Strength was my favourite, but actually the 1998 Single Cask Sherry Cask just pipped it. I was enjoying it so much I didn’t want to be distracted making too many tasting notes – I just wanted to sip and enjoy it. Both were fantastic drops though, enjoyed them immensely.
Personally, it was brilliant to finally see the distillery where all of this great whisky I had tasted this year was made, but even more fascinating to hear how the distillery site was chosen and set up. And while they are only a very young distillery, Arran have managed to produce some cracking whiskies in their short existence. Inspirational stuff for anyone who aspires to one day start up their own small distillery. Me? Of course not…*cough*