Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Whisky Discovery #217

Robert Burns Single Malt Whisky NAS (43% abv OB Bottled 2012, 70cl)
Island Single Malt Whisky
Circa £30.00 70cl
Isle of Arran Distillery
The new 2012 Robert Burns Single Malt from the Isle of Arran Distillery
Released at the beginning of September and bottled under the Robert Burns label, this edition of the Arran Single Malt has been created by combining different ages to create a beautifully rounded whisky that is smooth, malty and sweet with a delicious spicy twist on the finish.

Since 2000 The Isle of Arran Distillers have been granted life membership of the World Burns Federation - an organisation based in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire which is dedicated to the life and works of Scotland's national poet Robert Burns. 

This is the 'official' Robert Burns whisky – accept no imitations!

Robert Burns (1759-1796)– national poet of Scotland and a global Scottish icon was born in Alloway, Ayrshire in 1759 and his links with Ayrshire and Arran are well known. In fact, although the bard never actually visited the Isle of Arran, he is certain to have been able to see it on clear days as he laboured in the fields of Ayrshire on his father's farm. At that time there were several illicit stills on Arran which produced whisky that was claimed by many to be "among the finest whiskies available". This was shipped to Dunure in Ayrshire - then the centre of the illegal whisky trade - before being shipped to the gentry in Scotland's major cities where they "took the Arran waters".

Using mainly American oak ex-Bourbon casks in maturation has accentuated the sweet-fruity notes of Arran whilst a smaller proportion of ex-Sherry hogsheads have added depth and richness. Matured in a selection of finest ex-Bourbon & ex-Sherry Casks and bottled at 43% abv, and like all Arran Malts no artificial colouring is used.

Official Tasting Notes: 

Colour: Ayrshire Sunshine 
Aroma: Sweet & creamy with notes of honey, toffee-glazed pecans and fresh summer fruits. 
Palate: A perfect combination of rich malt and lush vanilla notes forms a beautifully refreshing and smooth palate. Light and sweet at first followed by tantalising spice and oak. 
Finish: Clean and fresh with an aftertaste of hazelnuts and milk chocolate. A true drop of liquid poetry and the perfect dram with which to toast the Bard! 

So what did we think? 

Dave said: I tweeted 'Summer in a glass' when I first started nosing this whisky, because alongside the sweet creamy vanilla, bags of toffee and summer fruits; most noticeably kiwi fruit, I was struck by the almost hedgerow elderflower note to this. However it had a further trick up it's sleeve too; with time in the glass the nose took on a minty chocolate note - certainly a lot going on in here!

Kat said: Just after I poured it into the nosing glass the first aromas I got was a mineral quality like spring water, a hint of Werthers originals, and citrus pith. After about five minutes in the glass I found that it had developed a creamier note which reminded me instantly of the sweet creaminess of a Milky Bar, and definitely of white chocolate. The minerals were then taken over by the smell of dry straw. 

Dave said: This is definitely a smooth and easy drinking malt from The Arran Distillery. However the sweet creamy vanilla is nowhere near as prominent on the palate, being much more spicy with light notes of Burmese/Vietnamese coriander, pepper and green oak, which is all balanced by a toffee sweetness, a briny saltiness and rich malt. 

Kat said: On my initial sip, I got a hit of bitterness and zest of a grapefruit which stays for the duration. The sweetness and creaminess is less than what I was expecting giving how strong these were on the nose. For me the sweetness was not of organic origin, what I mean by this is that its not like honey or cane sugar, it was more of artificial sweeteners like the taste of Splenda. I did like that it was light yet still keeping the creaminess, rather than being more syrupy, and in between all of this was hint of white pepper and coriander seeds. 

Dave said: The finish seemed to be a balance of the senses; sweetness, saltiness and a little peppery heat

Kat said: For me the finish started with grapefruit zest for a few seconds, developing into bitter qualities of citrus pith/oak tannins which stayed to the end.

Overall it was light and refreshing whisky that I would have again as it was a nice finish to a home cooked lamb curry, especially when the curry was cooked by my other half! Yep, all I did was eat then put my feet up sipping my whisky!

And finally:

We're indebted to Isle of Arran Distillers for sending us a generous sample of this new release of the Robert Burns Single Malt release to review.

Both the Robert Burns Single Malt and Robert Burns Blended Scotch are part of Isle of Arran Distillers‘ core range, but they are considered like a mini-brand within Arran and have their own section on their website.

A new website is being launched in January 2013 dedicated only to Robert Burns Malt and Blend. A Facebook page has already been established dedicated to the bard and these two whiskies, and for further information see their website

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