Nearly a year ago I was in Scotland and one of the few distilleries I had the pleasure of visiting was Lochranza on Isle of Arran. It was a fabulous day trip with friends and well worth doing.
One whisky I tried there was their no age statement Quarter Cask – and absolutely loved it! However as I could only walk away with one bottle for Mumbai, chose one that was only available at the distillery – the gorgeous rich and intense 23 year old cask strength.
A few months later, I bought the Quarter Cask online in Germany with plans to bring it to India during my summer trip as a way to ’round out’ a no-age-statement trio – joining bottles of the Lochranza Estate and Port Finish already patiently waiting for a tasting session in my Mumbai whisky cabinet.
And then summer came with no chance of a trip home in sight, I decided to open this bottle and simply enjoy! Naturally sharing samples with my Whisky Ladies in Paris.
Whilst we had minis of the Arran vertical 14, 18, and 23-year-olds plus the Port finish, I chose to dive into this one as an appetizer before the mighty Chorlton cask strength Orkney and Loch Lomond.
So what did we think?
- Nose – Mmmm….. vanilla, sweet sponge cake, Barbados rum, fruity, honey caramelized nuts which then flipped through a combination of blanched white almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, coconut, back to honey, vanilla, pineapple upside-down cake, milk chocolate
- Palate – A wonderful warming spice, nicely well-rounded, a much more “solid” character than anticipated from the dessert-like aromas, approachable yet with substance, oily, a touch of dark bitter chocolate, nutmeg – rich without being heavy, lightly fruity
- Finish – Lingers with pineapple and honey, lovely and long
- Water – While we didn’t think it needed, decided to try – and you should! It brought out buttery sweet brioche on the nose, reduced the nuttiness, amping up the fruitness, bringing out on the palate a citrus twist and orange marmalade without compromising the delicious finish
We loved it! The nose was so inviting and delicious, the palate is marvellously well balanced and the finish long and rewarding. What isn’t there to enjoy?
We set it aside for a revisit and was greeted by a delightful perfume on the nose, fabulous flavours on the palate – which much more citrus than we initially found. Loved it!
What do the folks at Arran have to say?
Our Quarter Cask expression is a complex, rich and intensely fruity Single Malt, a cask strength delight and the perfect partner to our Sherry Cask Single Malt!
The Arran Single Malt selected for this cask strength expression was initially matured in first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels for 7 years before being transferred for secondary maturation into smaller Quarter casks also made of the finest American oak for a further 2 years. The process of transferring our whisky into the smaller 125 litre sized casks for their final 2 years of maturation produces far greater contact between the whisky & oak and a faster, more intense maturation.
The end result is a full-bodied expression of Arran Single Malt combining power and finesse full of rich vanilla sweetness and bold peppery spice. Bottling at natural Cask Strength without chill-filtration or artificial colouring of any sort presents this whisky in its purest form. Small casks would have been a common feature of the Arran whisky trade in the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries as they were easier to handle and transport around the island. With our much-loved Quarter Cask expression we proudly bring this tradition back to life.
Official distillery tasting notes:
- Nose – Apple tart, pineapple brioche
- Palate – The citrus hallmarks of Arran welcome you, and the sweet spice of cinnamon and vanilla promises a memorable dram.
- Finish – Sweetness, Honey, Pineapple, Vanilla, Coconut.
To be honest, we didn’t read the official tasting notes however clearly we would completely agree!
This expression is available from the distillery for GBP 50 and I bought it in Germany for EUR 53.56.
What else have we recently tried from Arran?
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