Funny how sometimes chance encounters lead to wonderful discoveries. I happened to meet a Scot who keeps criss-crossing between India, UK and other ports of call.
He ever so kindly offered (or did I weedle an offer?) to pick up something on his next trip to Edinburgh. He asked if there was anything specific I had in mind and rather than rattle of a series of well known options, suggested he take a peak at the list of whiskies tasted til date and surprise me!
This particularly bottle joined a special NAS evening with our original tasting group, sampled blind before the great reveal..
The Arran Port Finish 50%
- Nose – Starts with tight dry berries, then rounds out into a bouquet of fruits, shifting from berries to summer orchard fruits then slipping into tangy citrus orange, finally settling into stewed fruits like plums with a drizzle of dark molasses, even a hint of toasted hazelnut, gives the impression of body just on the nose
- Palate – After such a sweet nose, such an unexpected SPICE! With dried red sour plums or gooseberry. A nice oily element too.
- Finish – Bitter spice finish, stays surprisingly long
- Water – Adds a little something – much spicier in a good way that brings out a nice cinnamon spice
As we speculated what this whisky could be, we realized it didn’t neatly fit into standard categories. The colour had hints of ruby to the extent that one wondered if it was “suspect”…
With the reveal there was quite a bit of surprise – it was remarkably smooth for 50%, the port cask finish helped explained many of the different elements – including the colour which has nothing beyond the cask involved!
We even had a member quite familiar with Arran in our midst who hadn’t connected the style of the Port Finish with the standard age statement Arran’s or their peaty Machir Moor.
Here’s what else the Arran team have to say about this whisky:
After initially maturing in traditional oak casks for approximately 8 years, the Arran Single Malt in this bottling was finished in the highest quality Port wine casks from an artisan producer of this iconic Portuguese fortified wine. Our Master Distiller, James MacTaggart, has carefully monitored this period of secondary maturation to ensure the perfect balance is struck between the Port casks and the intrinsic sweet-fruity character of The Arran Malt. The end result is a Single Malt full of charm, complexity and quality and an extremely popular part of our range.
- Colour: Deep Bronze
- Nose: Vanilla spice and ripe citrus running into dried fruits and nuttiness. With a splash of water more depth of mandarin citrus with fudge and honeyed notes
- Palate: Layered fruits and spice combine, with cinnamon baked apple wrestling with raisin and plum pudding. The dram opens out to reveal warming barley and a hint of sweet pear
- Finish: A classic Single Malt with punch that dances on the palate. The trademark Arran barley-sweetness shines through the layers of complexity
What else did we try in our NAS evening?
- France – Guillon Banyuls (2015) 43%
- Highland – Oban Little Bay 43%
- Taiwan – Kavalan Solist Peaty Cask No R091214006A Bottle No 043/137 54.8%
From time to time, you can also find other whisky related updates and activities on: