Arran – 14 Year Old – Single Malt Scotch Whisky | 46% (92 Proof) $67.99 (With Coupon)
Color/Appearance: A lighter shade of gold-ish amber with a nice natural look, very becoming for a sherry influenced whisky of this age. Clearly marked with lack of colorant and non chill-filtered, that is always nice. This bottle has wonderful bird details in the glass and a simple but effective shape. I enjoy the design of the label with its unusual reddish golden type matched with teal touches. Sophisticated without being stuffy and the very original colors seem to work wonderfully with the color of the whisky.
Nose: Apples, apple core and apple skin with the entire sensory experience of apples, which, of course, is rather pleasing. Then there is cinnamon, carmel, toffee, salt and a touch of kaffir lime leaves. Fresh and vibrant with light coastal overtones but a more complex and higher elevation location. The coast is near but orchards and rare plants are blossoming everywhere. Walking along the ridge you round into a small valley where the plants change suddenly, old growth is undisturbed and a gentle mist is highlighted by sparse sunbeams.
Palate: Here the apples morph into pears caramelized in brown butter, tangerines and wine. Juicy and rich while still maintaining a beautiful delicateness. Chocolate pretzels with that salty sweet hit. This complex sweetness has many fruits playing together. Dried apricot, red grape and dates run under the surface. All constantly baked down with pears and apples. Umm, yes this is very nice. Too many wonderful things going on here to ignore. Arran has a nicely distinctive palate which seems to be characterized by its wonderful abundance of fruit and cinnamon. With these leading elements so nicely set up to succeed, this spirit still can awe you with wonderful confluences.
Finish: Cinnamon spice slowly rehydrating to a more lush fennel and dill. Lingering apple skin and faint oak. The last sip on a long abandoned herbal tea.
Overall: An excellent effort from Arran here. This expression is sort of a landmark with such a great spirit starting to reach it full potential. A vibrant and delicious 14 year old that is able to hit many nice notes with bourbon and sherry casks for maturation. Plus with such a fruity and delicious base spirit this one can really soar. Its nice to see a distillery work so methodically, the right way, to make an official 18 year old appear. They may be new but surely if this operation had been around for longer their already high reputation would be through the roof. I am glad I took the time to find out what all the fuss was and look forward to trying some more expressions from this fine distillery.