Arran Smugglers’ Series Volume One – The Illicit Stills

After our tour of the distillery we had to find somewhere to eat. Being at the north end of the island unable to drive and without any chance of getting a taxi our options were limited to the island.

Lochranza hotel is a small family run hotel with a traditional Scottish bar open to the public to the side of the main building. It provides simple quality meals alongside a rather vast whisky collection.

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Since we were here is wouldn’t be right not to sample another Arran and this time one which has been sold out for a while and only available on the secondary market.

The Dram

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The Arran Smuggler’s Series Vol 1 is the first release from 2015 in a trilogy based around the concept of illicit whisky production on Arran.

The first thing that becomes apparent with this release is the packaging. The box is fashioned into a large book with a cut out for the bottle. The bottle itself is different to the usual Arran design as well, being far less contemporary and more Victorian in design.

The packaging design was done by Pocket Rocket Creative in Stirling. They also seem to do a lot of other modern whisky packaging which you can see at their website http://pocketrocketcreative.co.uk

In terms of the actual whisky in the bottle is it a no age statement release at 56.4% ABV. The marketing release for it tells us there is some peated whisky in the recipe as well as some port pipes. As with all Arran whiskies there is no colouring of the whisky or aggressive chill-filtration. When it was released in 2015 it was around £90 but you can expect to pay closer to £200 today.

Tasting Notes

Colour – lemon juice

Nose – quite sharp and robust initially. Some apples and a lot of malted barley. Some dried fruits but none of the peated whisky is coming through yet.

Palate – Very tightly bound flavours without any water. With some time and water it opens out with more caramel and raisins. There is a charred wood aspect to it rather than smoke as well I would say.

Finish – Quite a short finish with some white pepper and a little sherried wood.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt the packaging of this trilogy has contributed to the secondary market valuation. The whisky is not bad, far from it. However, it is not really good enough to warrant spending the money at auction if you are going to open it, drink it and bin the bottle when you are finished.

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