Distillery: Isle of Arran
Age: 10 years old
Although the Isle of Arran distillery has heartily experimented with all sorts of weird and wonderful cask finishes, the company does also maintain a range of whiskies with an age statement. Of these, Arran 10 year old is the most youthful expression. It showcases the fresh, fruity distillery character in its purest form, unburdened by the extra flavours that additional cask finishes provide. As an unpeated malt, this Arran doesn’t have an obvious Island character, but does provide a refined charm that belies its relatively tender age . The 10 year old is a nice introduction to the Arran range, and well worth a try if you like smooth whiskies and want to set your sights beyond Highland or Speyside distilleries.
Colour: Pale gold
Nose: Fresh and zesty, like a summer breeze blowing through an orange grove. Ripe apples and citrus peel give way to the aroma of shortbread sprinkled with crushed almonds. Then the lightness fades, being replaced by honey glazed ham and marshmallows roasting over the most fragrant of wood fires. Quite a lot going on for a 10 year old whisky!
Palate: Relatively light-bodied. The fruity character returns, but in a mellower and more mature guise. Nutty flavours develop, intertwining with honey and cocoa nibs. Arran’s malty flavours are on full display, with the taste of barley never far off. The result is a whisky that’s very easy going, but never boring.
Finish: Medium long, with pleasant barley flavours and an aftertaste of toasted vanilla.
Verdict: Arran 10 year old is a simple, easy, yet satisfying dram. As the most basic expression in Arran’s core range, the 10 year old sets a nice marker for the rest of the distillery’s bottlings. Compared to some of its competitors in the same age group, this Arran displays a complexity and richness that’s commendable, particularly at this price point. The 10 year old is a solid dram that serves as a good introduction to many of the other wonderful whiskies that Arran has to offer.