Had five drams from the Arran range during Glasgow's Whisky Club tasting at Arran Distillery on Saturday. Here are some notes.
1. Robert Burns International: Very light colour, the typical Arran profile of apples and citrus, but for me, strangely lacking in any real depth of character.
2. Tne Arran 7 ncf: Straw coloured, again light, but with some more cream and banana coming through
3. The 10YO ncf: And the extra years have given this more depth. The trademark citrus is softened and this is a sweet dram, very warming with dark chocolate and a long satisfying aftertaste
4. The Limited Edition Sherry Cask: Overpowered, for me, by the finishing cask. Seemed to be all sherry and very little whisky
5. Limited Edition Montepulciano d'Abruzzo: According to the distillery, it was matured in a sherry cask, and finished for 4 months in French oak casks previously used for the ‘Villa Gemma’ cuvée from the Italian wine producer, Gianni Masciarelli.
A deep ruby red colour, I found it powerful, very warming, with spices, vanilla and a touch of tobacco. One for those long winter nights in front of a fire.
But I wondered: in general terms what are the pros and cons of finishing in a cask so powerful that, in the sherry case on Saturday, it may take over from the whisky.
My feeling after re-visiting the 10YO in my home last night was that it was an exceptionally fine whisky, showing a great depth of maturity from one so (relatively) young