My London Whisky Show tasting companion and I are both fans of Arran whiskies. The Lochranza distillery’s un-peated “Arran” style – both their core range and limited editions!
However whilst I’ve known of their peated “Machrie Moor” for years, haven’t adequately explored these expressions. Since 2019, Lochranza stopped using peat, choosing instead to dedicate their new Lagg distillery to a peat style. This means Machrie Moor will become a thing of the past. So we skipped over many familiar friends on offer, to try this duo of their standard Machrie Moor and cask strength.
Machrie Moor 46%
- Nose – Peat and sweet, fresh with that special kinda peat that combines smoked meats, crispy bacon, and a drizzle of maple syrup
- Palate – Started spicy, then mellowed out with hints of the underlying fruity character
- Finish – Cinamon and smoke
This may seem surprising, but my impression from a light sniff, swish, and spit was that Machrie Moor was surprisingly mild and modest.
What more do they have to say about this expression?
On the west coast of the Isle of Arran lies a windswept and mystical peat bog called Machrie Moor. Bronze Age stone circles and standing stones are strewn across its barren, undulating terrain. One of the stone circles is known as Fingal’s Cauldron Seat, where sits a stone with a carved hole. The legendary warrior giant Fingal is said to have tethered his favourite dog Bran to this stone. This peated expression of the Arran Single Malt perfectly captures the rugged beauty and lore of the landscape. Unleash the legend that is Machrie Moor.
And their official tasting notes?
- Nose – Light smoke and citrus
- Palate – Dried grass, peat smoke and hints of vanilla and tropical fruit.
- Finish – Citrus, Smoke, Peat, Pineapple.
We then moved on to the cask strength expression…
Machrie Moor Cask Strength 56.2%
- Nose – At first fruity then shifted into meaty peat with smoked ham or pastrami
- Palate – A fiery spice! Which initially masked the stewed fruits
Unlike the milder Machrie Moor 46%, this was a powerhouse and initially a bit imbalanced. However, I have a strong suspicion that a dash of water would make all the difference – something that we skipped in our quick zip-through!
What more do they have to say?
- Nose – Citrus notes with a background of peat and a puff of smoke immediately apparent
- Palate – A robust dram with the typical orchard fruits of Arran coming to the fore over a layer of toasted brioche and red berries
- Finish – Citrus, Smoke, Chocolate, Vanilla, Coconut.
Both were interesting to try, however, have to admit, we remain partial to their un-peated expressions. Curious about these other Arran explorations? Just read on…
- Arran Quartet – Sauternes, Amarone, The Bodega Sherry, Port
- Arran 14 year 46% – mini vs bottle
- Arran’s Lochranza Vertical – 14 year 46%, 18 year 46%, 23 year (1996/2020) Sherry Hogshead Cask No 436, 52.6%
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