23 August 2012

Arran 14 "A Fine Arranian Array of Delights"

They may well be one of the younger boys on the whisky block, but there’s certainly nothing adolescent, juvenile or inexperienced about the drams on offer from Arran.
Infact for a distillery that only opened and started production in 1995, they’ve somewhat taken the dramming world by storm. Gaining not only huge industry acclaim but an ever growing global gaggle of fans eager to try and further explore the offerings from this trailblazing west coast islander.

I have to admit that it wasn’t up until a couple of years ago that I developed a true appreciation for all things Arran. I had been aware of the brand and I’d enjoyed the occasional glass of their very palatable 10 Year Old. But it wasn’t until I experienced and was blown away by their 15th Anniversary bottling that this occasional dramming flirtation became something more permanent on my whisky horizon.

Since then it has quite literally been a case of not looking back, as I’ve been fortunate in being able to enjoy a whole clutch of their previous and new releases. One highlight being their 14 Year Old bottling which has provided much solace through the largely unseasonal sporadic spurts of summer that we’ve experienced this year.

The nose kicks off with bold yet balanced waves of vanilla and pear infused oak, followed by a multitude of summer berries and dried fruits floating around in a shallow and subtle pool of rose water.

A big wedge of warm malt loaf spread with a thick oozing glug of honey makes for the next set of sensations, along with a tin of peaches in syrup and a bubbling hot pan of winter spiced caramel.

A subtle coastal element then kicks in along with an infusion of galangal and preserved lemons, followed by the distant aroma of a summer fruit sherry trifle.

Desiccated coconut and a tin of condensed milk, prior to being made into bars of coconut ice make for the next set of delights, along with an infusion of dry grass and freshly chopped parsley.

The palate kicks off with flowing waves of sweet oak and cardamom infused honey, followed by fresh mint, ground black pepper, wood spice and a bowl of vanilla infused poached pears drizzled with melted 70% Divine dark chocolate.

The fresh citrus twang from a lemon curd tart then kicks in, along with a palatable homely hug of warm apple and hazelnut cobbler, and a big garish wedge of Jamaican spiced fruit bun.

Restrained coastal elements make their way back and forwards throughout the tasting of this dram, delivering a superb and assertive level of balance. Then subsequently help to provide a springboard for all the aforementioned delights to reappear and mingle at their leisure whilst delivering a lusting long linger-ette of a finish.

Purchase Whisky, Wine, Beer and Spirits from Master of Malt