Arran – 10 Year Old – Single Malt Scotch Whisky | 46% (92 Proof) $44.99 (link)
Sample provided by ImpEx Beverages
Color/Appearance: Yellow with some nice warmth to it, Sort of an egg custard yellow. This is a combo of whisky matured in both bourbon and sherry casks. Thanks to Arran there is no chill-filtering and it features natural color. Love that it is bottled at a respectable forty-six percent. These craft presentation hallmarks are so simple to achieve but allow your whisky to speak for itself. This also gives the informed consumer a good feeling knowing that the distiller doesn’t have to resort to any tricks. I really love the new designs on the bottles, they look nicely modern and understated. Arran is really setting themselves up as the distillery you most want to be. They seem to have a knack for doing things the right way and their years of hard work are coming to fruition as this year will mark the first release of their official eighteen year old expression.
Nose: Pears, honey, salt and sweet barley. Lavender soap, sunshine and ozone fresh from crashing waves. Summer by the sea right in your glass. With water a hint of lime and ginger enter the fray, maybe even some slight mulled wine. Wonderful. Malty and sweet smelling but also very fresh. Great overall nose that really packs some very nice scents into a compelling and cohesive package.
Palate: Comes in a little spicier and drier than the nose would indicate, with grassy freshness and crisp oak. Then the softer sweeter aspects come into dominance with a gentle Camilla tea heavily doused with honey. Some green and red apples, pears and a tiny spritz of lemon. Great balance with it leaning ever so slightly towards the sweet. Lurking underneath is a sort of peaty medicinal note that is rather nice. It helps to cut the sweet with something other than dryness and gives the palate some serious depth.
Finish: Right as you swallow a few blades of fresh grass are stuck in your mouth. Then a sweetness reminiscent of hard candies, which fleetingly retreats, revealing a dab of oak. There is some limestone mineral taste and again a mossy peat like savory tingle. Maybe even some bitterness and pithy tannins balanced by a dab of tangerine. None of these feel out of place and all are rather subtle. The finish is really long and appropriately dry and crisp.
Overall: So easy to drink, yet really flavorful. Simple and …complex? Does this even make sense? They have something really nice here, as an entry level malt it is rather exciting. Arran has grabbed all the elements of a summers day on the coast of the Isle of Arran and condensed it into liquid form. I was not sure what to expect with this one, as I really loved the fourteen year old, but this easily stands on its own as a unique expression and one that Arran can be proud of. Summer but rugged. Sweet yet tart, crisp and dry. The word balance gets flung about a lot in reviews but this malt really achieves it and leaves you with a lasting impression of place rather than balancing out to a boring whole. Not an easy feat and one well worth seeking out.