I’ve had the privilege of trying some pretty unique and cool Arran bottlings and they’ve cemented Arran as one of my favourite distilleries. So when my wife and I went to the Isle of Arran and the distillery, I was quite excited to see they had some minis for sale of the standard expressions so I could see what the base spirit tastes like.
Arran 10 – 46% ABV
- Appearance: standard light yellow, uncoloured.
- Nose: light, apples, honey, malty, very grassy, lemons, light oak
- Palate: grass, honey, apples, caramel, sea salt, malty as heck. Great creamy texture. Quite sweet.
- Finish: medium length, sweet.
- Score: 85/100
this is a really nice standard offering and I can see why it takes the different barrel finishes so nicely.
Arran 14 – 46% ABV
- Appearance: same light yellow
- Nose: bit more oak influence than the 10, more fruit than the 10 too… pears, peaches, melon. Smells sweeter. Lots of honey, and that same grassiness.
- Palate: spicer than the 10 with some cinnamon and peppery notes, a lot more oak, malty, same fruit as the nose. Salty. Creamy.
- Finish: same length, spicy
- Score: 86/100
feels like the 10s big brother. Very nice.
I had the 18 at the tasting tower at the LCBO during an in person swap. Didn’t get many notes at the time as I was in a rush.
Arran 18 – 46% ABV
- Nose: fruity, oaky, spicy
- Palate: lots of oak, typical arran fruitiness with a bit of funk. Chocolatey and very sweet. Spicy cinnamon.
- Finish: medium and sweet
- Score: 87/100
has some of the same notes as the 10 and 14, but that chocolatey note is a great addition.
got this sample in a swap with /u/Boyd86. big thanks to him for hooking me up! I’m a big Arran malt fan, having loved all 3 expressions I’ve tried so far, so I jumped at the opportunity to try another one at cask strength. The other CS Arrans I’ve tried had finishes, so i’m curious to taste the pure malt in all its cask strength glory.
Arran 12 Cask Strength Batch 1 – 54.1% ABV
- Appearance: yellow-gold. Thick legs.
- Nose: it’s got some kick! Smells very hot. Once that subsides, I get a lot of oak, some brininess, lots of honey, almonds, some fruit that I can’t place.
- Taste: you taste every bit of that 54.1% in this. It’s hot. But it’s also got a ton of flavour. Lots of honey, the fruit is a bit stronger and I finally detect the sherry. It wasn’t really apparent on the nose to me. Apples, some saltiness. Added a drop of water which opened up that fruitiness a lot more, and gives a nice peppery spice note. really thick and creamy mouthfeel
- Finish: the spiciness lingers on the palate and when it subsides I’m left with sweet honey again. Moderately long and rather warm.
- Rating: 86/100
very good, but didn’t quite live up to my expectations when compared to the other cask strength offerings from Arran I’ve had. I definitely enjoyed it though and it has confirmed my view that Arran makes a fantastic Island malt.
Overall the standard line-up is solid and tasty. I can see why the finished bottlings are so nice. I continue to be a big fan, with 15 Arran malts under my belt, they’re scored an average of 87.3 for me, not too shabby! and best of all I have another 5 coming up soon!