My rendezvous this week was with an expression whose distillery had reopened its doors in 1995, but had traits that spanned over a century, being one of the unfortunate many who fell victim to the times due to poor management and unconducive market dynamics.
An Island distillery, the Arran has proximities to Campbeltown and the Lowlands but geographically very much a Highland brew, the distillery is nestled at Lochranza situated towards the north of the Isle. The distillery gets its water from the nearby stream, Loch na Davie, water that is both soft and influenced by peat. From what I’ve gathered, the distillery procures much if not all of their barley. The barley used for this expression is unpeated; fermented for around three days in wooden washbacks before being double distilled in copper pot stills and matured in a combination of exbourbon and ex-sherry casks.
The Arran 10 is certainly a looker and it did look different, so much so that I thought this was possibly another expression released by the distillers. Rather it was a recent rebranding at the distillery in 2019 that had given the bottling its broad rounded shoulder and tapered bottom, a bit stout perhaps but a more naked yet regal, polished styling – very cool indeed! Another lovely addition was the inclusion of Braille and the distillery’s geographical location on the roughly smooth paper labelling that hugs the bottle.
ABV : 46%
Eye : Old Gold | Non Chill Filtered, Natural Colouring
Nose : Vanilla, honey and cream married with citrus zest, green apples and white oak. Some richness from dried fruits echo from a distance, with a trail of spicy nuances, pepper, ginger peels and a mild bit of char.
Taste : Starts off sweet with rich vanilla sauce drizzled across slices of musk melon paired with hints of char and a sprinkle of coconut shards; some spice towards the end.
Finish : Medium | Mild warmth that lingers at the back of the throat with a subtle spice and vanilla sweetness.
The Arran 10 is a sweet whisky that is quite viscous for a young expression. It exhibits a fusion of tropical notes along with ex-sherry flavours, with the latter being less pronounced. For an Island spirit, it does not exhibit the typical maritime characteristics, a bit unique perhaps and certainly not a bad thing. The spirit is palatable, enjoyable and uncomplicated. There isn’t too much mixed into the brew but having said that there is just enough to instill life and zing into this aged concoction.
At AUD $100, this runs on the mildly higher end but is a worthy whisky that though very much simple still speaks volumes and worth a try if you wish to experience an Island whisky that isnt quite islandy.
Preference : Not too potent on the nose nor on the palate, this dram does not require any dilution even if it comes at a heftier 46%.