Arran distillery was opened in 1995 and named Scottish Distiller of the year 2007. As you know, it’s a difficult situation for start-up distilleries, as they need to come up with all sorts of releases while at the same time invest in storage of casks for mature versions. Currently, 12 years is about the oldest Arran you will find.
I’ve tasted a 40% version of this single cask Arran, but the release currently being sold by Master of Malt is cask strength (55%). I’m not sure both are from the same cask.
Arran 12 yo (40%, Master of Malt 2008)
Nose: there’s a great maritime wave up front, that I’ve never experienced with Arran (a light sea breeze). It even hints towards farmy notes (yummie) that you can find in some Connemara, while at the same time integrating superb fruity notes like kiwi and lychee. All sorts of overripe fruits really. Marshmallows. Hints of spices in the background. With water some waxy vanilla emerges. On the nose one the most interesting Arran I’ve had.
Mouth: the marshmallows evolve into rosewater lokum (Turkish delight, the candy invented by confectioner Haci Bekir). These fragrant notes take over the whole profile, up to the point where I wonder if I’m drinking whisky or alcoholic rosewater. Very uncommon but really enjoyable, alhough you could argue the complexity is very low. With water some notes of sweet pears appear, with added hints of citrus and barley.
Finish: not too long. Still quite fragrant, even slightly perfumy.
Funny how a malt with a complex nose can have such a mono-dimensional palate. Anyway, the nose is great and the taste has a truly unique character. Haci Bekir would have loved this! Around € 50.