These samples from Arran found their way to me courtesy of Steve over at Beers I've Known. It's always interesting to try a selection of different whiskies form one single distillery, it gives you an idea of what it is the distillers are aiming for in terms of a unique profile and character for the distillery as a whole rather than for one individual whisky. I was at a Balvenie tasting the other week and it was fascinating how six very different whiskies can retain a similarity that sets them apart as Balvenie. Two of these are whiskies I've tried before but again it's interesting to re-visit whiskies; aged spirits in general are so complex that I think they can offer something different every time. It's also the first time that I've sat down and done a proper tasting note for any of them, and only my second Arran review on this blog (you can read some thoughts on the Arran 10 here).
The Arran Malt - 12 Year Old Cask Strength, 53.9%.
Grassy, oaky nose with a bit of toffee in there after it had time to open up. I felt it needed a drop of water to bring out the barley sugar flavours. It does fall a bit short in complexity, but I think as an easy-going summer dram it's good if unspectacular.
The Arran Malt - 14 Year Old, 46%
Not as powerful on the nose as the 12, as you might expect given its lower abv, but it's got a bit more complexity; there's more vanilla to the oak, and a sweet sugar dusting. For me this had a great balance of zingy citrus fruit and smooth bourbon-influenced sweetness. This is an excellent dram; there's a lot going on on a vibrant palate (stone fruit and cashews) and the finish is just drying enough to make it moreish
The Arran Malt - The Millennium Casks, 53.4%
A more perfumed nose this time, with orange blossom and more stone fruit. Again after the whisky had stood for a while the toffee and vanilla came out a bit more. Didn't need water so much as the 12, it had a lot more of the character of the 14, with big juicy peach being the dominant flavour, but backed up nicely with nougat and salted caramel notes.
None of these whiskies are chill filtered. Arran continue to impress, they're making a good solid range of fruity whiskies - perfect drams for lazy summer afternoons.
Thanks very much to Steve for the whisky. The Beoir unfortunately didn't survive the journey.