Distillery: Isle of Arran
Age: No age statement
Arran distillery seems to be on a quest to finish their whisky in every cask type imaginable, and have produced some quality drams along the way. There’s something about Arran whisky that makes it suit cask finishes particularly well, which is why I’m excited to try the Arran Sauternes Cask. As the name implies, this dram has received an additional maturation in oak that previously held Sauternes, a sweet, white dessert wine from the Bordeaux region. While I’ve not been overly impressed with the likes of Tullibardine 225 or Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or, I have a feeling that a Sauternes finish may complement Arran’s fresh, fruity character rather well. Let’s find out!
Colour: Old gold
Nose: Quite restrained, Arran Sauternes Cask doesn’t give away much. Add a few drops of water though, and the aroma becomes fresh and citric. Scents of apricot and kiwi give way to marzipan and milk chocolate with a sprinkle of sea salt. This is Arran at its very fruitiest.
Palate: Remarkably sweet and almost viscous, like a liquid honey with a pleasantly floral taste to it. The fruit makes a comeback, with notes of pineapple and orange peel. There’s a slightly salty tang towards the end, reminding us that this is an Island whisky after all.
Finish: Long, with oaky flavours coming to the fore, and a lingering aftertaste of sultanas and apple crumble.
Verdict: The Arran Sauternes Cask is bolder statement than the distillery’s entry-level 10 year old, but not quite as complex as the Port or Amarone Cask. Still, there’s a liveliness to this whisky that I quite like, brimming with a fruity, floral energy. The Sauternes Cask further accentuates Arran’s fruity character, and is bound to be a hit with fans of the island distillery. Its only flaw is that it’s perhaps too sweet, too easy to drink. So while admittedly the Sauternes Cask is not my favourite Arran, it’s still a very good whisky. And as always, credits to Arran for offering this whisky non-chill filtered and at 50% abv.