The Arran distillery has been quite quiet this year so far I think. Very recently they announced a new series of special editions in the Explorer Series which starts with a 20 year old sherry matured expression at a decent £130 a bottle. Up to then though there social media and marketing has been very quiet compared to last year. Perhaps its all hands to the pumps developing and building the new Lagg distillery on the other end of the island but who knows.
Since I couldn’t find a bottle of the Explorer, my dram to mark the occasion will have to be on a much cheaper but still hard to find bottle. The Amarone cask in a red wine finished non-age statement whisky which while available at the distillery is marked as discontinued with retailers. From memory this seems to happen every year as these seem to be made in small batches and when its gone its gone….until next year!
Speaking of visiting the distillery if you are interested in going you definitely should but first pop past my article on my experience to get the most out of it. Arran Distillery Tour and Tasting
Amarone is an Italian dry red wine which you do not seem much of used in whisky production. The whisky is around 9 years old I think we were told from the visitor centre staff and has had a short finishing period in the red wine barrels. The bottling strength is 50% ABV and it has a natural colour. The colour which is, I think, over enhanced in the image above has a lovely reddish hue to it from those wine barrels and it is non chill filtered. The price for a bottle will be around £50 but perhaps less at auction since most of the Arran bottles do not get much attention at auction compared to other brands.
Colour – a hint of red through a glowing orange
Nose – quite prickly with honey and vanilla notes. There is tannic oak, marmalade and woody spices. There is a sweeter note with water of cinnamon buns, nutmeg before going back to bitter wood.
Palate – The bitter and astringent notes continue. This is a tart sour woody whisky for sure.
Finish – The finish is about medium length I would say. The sour whisky roller coaster continues though and leaves a taste of under ripe fruit and cooking apples.
The whisky is quite young and I think that shows. There is I think a different flavour profile to this sample from 2018 over the tasting I had at the distillery last year. I am sure I remember this has being more red fruits and vibrant. Whereas in this sample its drier, tarter and sour wood. Batch variation is something I enjoy in my whisky journey since it add spice and interest into opening new bottles. I can see how some people might be disappointed in this but give it quite a lot of time and equal amounts of water and you might get the best from it.