The Whisky Tasting Club The Whisky Tasting Club

Arran

Try five of the Arran core range.

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Arran is a roughly ellipsoid island with a varied landscape and very attractive landscape. There is a road that runs all the way round the island, and one that roughly bisects it, and the rest is just tracks. It has a population of around 5000. The population was actually higher in the 19th century, but many people were forced to leave in the notorious clearances. Famous for producing some of the best (although illegal) whisky in the 18th century, the island supposedly has the purest water in Scotland and a warm climate for speedy maturation. The small, independent Arran distillery is based in the village of Lochranza on the North coast. It was opened in 1995 and is now firmly established as a producer of excellent single malt.

Arran 10 year old

Launched in 2006, the ten year old is Arran's entry level malt whisky. Unchillfiltred and bottled at 46%, it is a mixture of whisky from bourbon and sherry casks. This typifies the distillery taste profile, it is light and fruity, but also packs a punch.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Zesty, creamy, pears, banaba, oranges, redcurrants, icing sugar, faint smoke.
Palate: Immediately soft, creamy and fruity, then immensely spicy and woody. Salty and coastal, spicy icing sugar and vanilla to finish.

Retails for around £30-40

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Arran 14 year old

Released in 2010, the 14 year old replaced the previous 12 year old expression and is the oldest Arran available to date. It was finished in fresh bourbon (two-thirds into American oak and one-third into European oak) and sherry casks 2 years before it was bottled. In the long terrm, Arran is planning a core range of 10, 14 and 18 year old expressions, but we will have to wait until 2014 for the 18 year old. Its more complex than the 10 year old, but definitely from a common base.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Buttery, light, floral with touches of summer meadow, lemon.†
Palate: Fresh, vibrant, vanilla, lemon, grapefruit, menthol, pepper.

Retails for around £40

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Arran Amarone Finish

Arran have experimented with a huge range of finishes, including port, champagne, various dry and sweet wines and rum. Like all true experimentation, there have been hits and misses. We think the Amarone is a definite hit. Amarone della Valpolicella is an Italian full bodied dry red wine and this Arran has definitely benefited from a few months in an Amarone cask, although it has turned it a rather unusual pink!

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Sour redcurrants, fresh raspberry and meringue, light wood spice.
Palate: Soft, sweet and spicy, rose wine, blackberries, Turkish delight, fresh red fruits, rose petals.

Retails for around £40

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Arran Machrie Moor

This Machrie Moor expression is unusual for Arran, in that it is peated. Machrie Moor, on the west coast of the island, is an area of moorland with a plethora of Bronze Age stone circles. 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, hence the label.

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Fruit and nut chocolate, ripe grape, burnt Christmas cake, mock cream, liquorice sticks
Palate: A luscious and creamy peat much more prominent now with tinned fruits and a smooth liquorice edge.

Retails for around £45

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Arran Devil's Punch Bowl II

The Devil's punchbowl is a 2012 limited release of 6660 bottles inspired by the glacial hollow Coire na Ciche whose sinister presence dominates the north-east coast of Arran. It is a vatting of 24 casks hand picked by Arranís distillery manager James MacTaggart. He says†"I have selected the casks for the Devilís Punch Bowl with a view to creating a special release of The Arran Malt where the sum is even greater than the wonderful parts. The Sherry Butts act like the rhythm section of a band; setting the tone and driving the character of the malt. Deep in colour and rich on the palate these casks are the heartbeat of this whisky. The 1996 Bourbon Barrels add a wonderful honeyed sweetness to proceedings whilst the Sherry Hogsheads imbue a perfect harmony of aroma and flavour. As a unique twist I have added some of our 2006 Peated Arran, in combination with regular un-peated Arran for the very first time, giving the finish a subtle smoky edge. They say the Devil has all the best tunes but here he has the perfect whisky too".

The Whisky Tasting Club Notes:
Nose: Slightly muddy and orange marmalade at first, then softer, toffee, fresh coconut, grape and sherry. Chocolate raisins.
Palate: Underlying smoke, sherry, spice and citrus, toffee, strawberry jam on burnt toast.

Retails for around £66

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