15 March 2011

Arran Machrie Moor "A Peaty Zing of a Dram"

These days it seems that a week can’t pass by without a distillery releasing a peated variation or pumped up PPM bottling of their dramming wares, as they try to keep up with the dramming in crowd.

Though as a bit of a peat freak myself, I welcome these earthy dramming innovations with open arms and more importantly with a glass that's ready to be filled.

My only concern for what I will describe as a ‘for peat sake bottling’ is that it’s vital to ensure that a whisky is not compromised or overshadowed by any unbalanced or unnecessary peaty protrudements. Making sure that each and every dram is still confidently defined by its distillery's key characteristics.

One dram that ticks all the right boxes with regards to putting on a perfect peaty performance without compromise, is the recent ‘Machrie Moor’ release from Arran.

Not only does it deliver a whole uncompromised wealth of what this distillery does best, the addition of peat is profoundly purposeful and provides a phenomenal depth of balance and dramming backbone.

The nose kicks off with a fracas of frolicking fruit. Granny Smith apples, Williams pears, Red Spanish pineapples and some overly ripe Manzano bananas all vie for your nasal attention.

A classic 1950s summer picture postcard day at the coast, makes for the next set of sensations. Puffs of smoke from a departing steam engine, that’s just dropped off a train load of day trippers, infuses with the sultry, salty sea air at the end of the pier on a hot August bank holiday afternoon.

A bowl of proving bread dough, a grating of coconut flesh and a bag of 'Cadbury' chocolate buttons then mingle their way into the proceedings, followed by a galloping gust of vanilla and a glug-tabulous wave of lime and grass infused honey.

Patience is well and truly and virtue as far as this dram is concerned. If you’re able to leave it for a good five minutes to fully awaken in the glass, it releases a sensational dose of spicy splendour.

The palate pretty much manages to replicate all the fruit-opian and other delights that were dug up on the nose. Along with a zinging zap of peat infused lemon sherbet, lime marmalade and a slightly unripened, acidic toffee apple.

A wave of buttery caramel and a mouthful of Mediterranean seawater make for the next set of palatable delights, along with a very satisfying peppery earthiness.

As with the nose, if you’re able to let this whisky waken up in its own time, over a period of five or ten minutes, you’re in for a real spice enhanced treat.

When the dramming proceedings come to a close, you’re treated to a long, lingering, peaty, citrus zing of a finish that then goes on further to deliver all the salty shenanigans normally associated with the rim of a tequila glass.