Archive for the ‘Arran’ Category

Claxton’s ‘The Single Cask’ Arran 1996 (20 year old) 50.3%

Bourbon Hogshead/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Apr 2017

The nose is quite dark and malty with gritty, earthy, coffee’d tannins. Polished but rugged with a subtle tropical fruit and honey background. With time hints of lime, mature barley and vanilla. Give it some time in the glass and it opens up rather well.

The palate is earthy and malty with again a rugged but polished character. Like the nose the fruit is very subtle which comes through on the middle along with a touch of milky and gritty oak. Edgy, mouth-watering finish with a lovely complexity of citrus, creamy barley, vanilla, apple blossom, hyacinth, white licourice and the returning malt. Wonderful progression and an excellent finish.


Highland Laird Isle of Arran 1996 (20 year old) 51.3%

Sherry Butt 1337/ Dist: 1996 Btl: 2017/ Tasted: Mar 2017

A pruney and winey nose with lashings of Oloroso, treacle, dark malt, wood smoke and hints of raisin, orange, tangerine along with some lightly herbal and coffee’d tannins. Obviously a first fill butt!

The palate is dense and raisinated with pruney dried fruit and coffee. No distillery character but a good depth of clean sherry with a touch of salt and herbs on the middle. Long with bitter chocolate, alcohol enhanced spice, burnt wood and tannin.

A.D Rattray Arran 2011 (5 year old) 57.3%

Bourbon Cask No 4/ Dist 2011 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Nov 2016

The alcohol level makes the noise feel pretty tight, however it’s quite gristy with white fruit and balsamic, malty notes. Slightly herbal with late vanilla, apricot and slightly perfumed floral notes.

The palate is tight and gristy with white fruit, vanilla, malt and developing aromatic barley. The finish is a little masked by the alcohol but it does show some milk and white chocolate and sweet coffee and toffee.

A drop of water makes it gorgeously citric with tangerine, orange blossom, apricot, pineapple, barley and heather notes being released. The palate is like the nose, gorgeously citric with orange blossom honey, orange marmalade, apricot and a touch of oak. Long and honeyed with lingering sweet oak, barley, mandarin and Satsuma.

North Star Spirits Arran 1996 (20 year old) 51.9%

Refill Bourbon Hogshead/ Madeira

Dist: 1996 Btl: 2016/ Tasted: Nov 2016

Very deep and honeyed aromas with herbal biscuit notes. The distinctive, toasted, lightly nutty oxidised Madeira fruit notes come through along with a touch of toffee, but don’t swamp the Arran character.

The palate is subtler, crisper and saltier, with more of the Arran tropical fruit up first. The toffee’d, biscuity Madeira arrives on the middle. Lovely intensity and length with a lightly herbal and nutty finish augmented with salt and honey.

Carn Mor Celebration of the Cask Arran 1996 (15 year old) 52.6%

Sherry Puncheon 2135/ Dist: Nov 1996 Btl: Mar 2015/ Tasted: May 2015

Subtle and creamy aromas of apricot and white fruit along with a touch of straw, sweet barley and dried grape. Lightly coastal and pleasantly balanced.

The palate is quite dry and softly tannic. The sherry influence is quite restrained and adds just a sliver of dried fruit and nuts. Lightly malt on the middle with a touch of coffee and light smoke. Good, salty finish.

Duncan Taylor Dimensions Isle of Arran 1996 (17 year old?) 53.8%

Tasted: Oct 2013

Nose: Industrial, hard and feinty with manure, boiled cabbage and damp barley. Horribly metallic with some mucky barley and honey notes

Palate: Hard and industrial with the unmistakable note of wet cardboard. Metallic, murky and nasty. Not even the hint of sweet barley can save this palate.

Finish: Short, alcoholic and metallic with hints of cabbage and rhubarb.

Conclusion. Nasty. It can only be Ledaig! (Again apparently not! – tasted blind)

Master of Malt Arran 1996 (16 Years Old) Single Cask 53.9%

Tasted: Oct 2013

Nose: Edgy and slightly industrial with hard as nails barley, manure, honey, citrus and rhubarb. With time it becomes very industrial with hints of sickly sweet violet and some lightly dusty oak. Water makes the aromas a little bit more pleasant as the emphasis shifts towards the citrus and barley.

Palate: Quite soft but industrial with citrus, apple and rhubarb plus hints of earth and coffee. However it’s not long before the murky cardboard notes appear! Water turns it into sugar water. Dull.

Finish: Very alcoholic with a nasty caramel/ coffee oiliness. With water it’s dull and sugary.

Conclusion: Another ropy Ledaig (obviously not!). At least it’s not as bad as the Duncan Taylor Dimensions Isle of Arran 1996!

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Arran 1996 (16 year old) 50%

Port Finished/ Code: OMC2282/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Aug 2013/ Tasted: Sept 2013

An earthy, coastal peat nose with hints of citrus and cinnamon. Quite light on the finish with an intimation of spicy black fruit. With time the fudgy oak notes which begin in the background begin to dominate.

The palate is soft and earthy with toasted caramel and vanilla. Light earthy-peat mingles with some porty dried fruit and soft spices. Still very earthy and bordering on the murky side but some sweet barley attempts to counter. Very dry, slightly hot finish.

Hunter Laing Old Malt Cask Arran 1996 (19 year old) 50%

Bourbon/ Code: OMC2518/ Dist: Sept 1996 Btl: Apr 2016/ Tasted: May 2016

Oily and lightly coastal aromas with lemon, lime, barley and hints of asparagus and creamy vanilla. It opens to show some mature baked fruit with a light balsamic edge. With time loads of granulated sugar coated green fruit notes come to the fore.

The palate opens with the creamy oak and baked fruit, followed by hints of malt, treacle and fragrant herbs – camphor, thyme and coriander leaf. Very full and mature. Good length with lingering salt, malt, lemon sherbert and a little bitter oak add the death.

Cadenhead’s Arran 15 Years Old 56.9%

Bourbon/ July 2012

A mature nose of straw, manure and dunnage warehouses, but there is also some pleasant, slightly perfumed white fruit, barley and honeysuckle notes. Very deep with a light, earthy peat note. With water a gorgeous liquid orange character emerges, but it does simplify it however. 

The palate opens with the creamy/ milky oak followed by straw, earth, barley and mature fruit. Water makes it slightly watery and a tad homogenous, but still quite pleasant though. Very dry, alcohol and salt laden finish. Pleasantly juicy with a citrus after but it definitely need diluting. With water it’s ok. Conclusion: Quite an impressive, mature malt when neat, although the alcohol does mask the finish, but it becomes rather homogenous when water is added.

Scotch Malt Whisky Society (Arran) 121.51 Amazing Waves of Sweetness 9 year old 61.3%

Sherry/ Tasted: July 2012

Leafy, dusty, spicy Oloroso to begin with. Very clean with hints of dried fruit and perfumed peat. With time it becomes very perfumed. Water makes it a bit flat but brings out a treacly denseness. 

The palate opens with juicy, dried apricot, raisins and dried plums. Quite earthy with hints of liquorice and dark chocolate. Water flattens it just like the nose but it still retains some juiciness and treacly richness. Quite mouth-watering alcoholic, but pleasantly spicy. With water it becomes longer with a beautiful golden honey sheen, gentle peat note and some wood tannins. Conclusion: Surprisingly for such a high abv it’s not at all spirity on the nose, there’s not a huge amount of discernible distillery character but the sherry is very clean.