Monday, 22 April 2013

Whisky Discovery #403

The Arran Malt 16 Year Old (46% abv)
Island Single Malt
Circa £60.00 70cl

Arran Distillers has recently launched its oldest expression so far, The Arran Malt 16 Year Old. This bottling marks the countdown to the launch of The Arran Malt 18 Years Old. This time next year should see the release of the 17 Year Old followed by the 18 Year Old First Edition in Spring 2015. I've just checked my notes on the Arran 14 Year Old (Whisky Discovery #40) where I remember writing that their core range will eventually consist of 10, 14 and 18 Year Old expressions.

This new release is produced from un-peated malted barley, then matured in a mix of circa  70% bourbon barrels and 30% sherry hogsheads. The expression has been limited to 9,000 bottles and in-line with their other core expressions bottled at 46% abv, naturally coloured and non-chill filtered

So What Did We Think?

Kat: Nose:  Fresh cut Beech, fresh apricots, a sweet fresh quality that reminds me of the smell of honey suckle after rain, unbaked bread dough, and lemon zest that nicely balances the sweetness.

Taste:  Sweetness again similar to honey suckle but develops later to be more like sweet pea shoots, there’s a slight oiliness, a nut quality like is similar to macadamia nut, and lightly spiced – cinnamon.

Finish:  Delicately sweet and mildly spice (tingles of cinnamon), the taste of cork (you know that taste of when you get little bits of it in your wine when someone with ham hands has had a go at opening your wine!), and a nice hint of bitterness at the end. I find the taste of cork here quite pleasant, gives it a hint of earthiness.

Overall I really enjoyed this whisky. It’s light and refreshing, and would be very enjoyable in some spring sunshine.

Dave: The nose comes across as very malty upon pouring the first dram into the Glencairn, but then it evolves into rich dark chocolate flavours - fabulous! There's spicy oak, sweet toffee, honey and fruit with rosy apples and green grapes. It's spicy and beautifully honeyed without being too sweet.

The palate opens with a light honey sweetness and slowly builds to a spicy crescendo, cloves and cinnamon It has a rich and creamy mouth-feel and the chocolate notes are back, but now more milk chocolate like and there is a slight orangey mandarin note underlying

A great spicy finish follows with and almost chilli burn on the tongue if you let it. There's a nice length to the finish, and the milk chocolate lingers before the mouth starts to dry as the oak tannins come through leaving me salivating for the next dram.

I loved the 14 Year Old and this is a fabulous step towards their goal of having an 18 year old in their core line up. An important milestone for this young, innovative independent distillery and a and delicious milestone at that!

And finally:

Many thanks to Isle of Arran Distillers for sending us a generous sample of this new release to review.

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