Distillery: Isle of Arran
Age: No age statement
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I really enjoy Arran’s Cask Finishes range. There’s something about Arran’s fresh, fruity profile that just lends itself very well to an additional few months in ex-wine or port casks. For this bottling, Arran used oak that previously held Amarone, a rich Italian red wine. And oh my, has it left its mark on this whisky. Dark of colour with sweet, nutty flavours, a silky mouthfeel and a long, lingering finish, Arran Amarone Cask is a dram to savour. For the past few years this bottling has been in a bit of a limbo, being discontinued and reintroduced several times over. Let’s see if the Amarone Cask sticks around, but surely a dram this good has earned its place in Arran’s core range..?
Colour: Shiny copper
Nose: There’s a deep, fragrant richness to this Arran. Scents of toasted almonds rub shoulders with sultanas and Christmas cake. The Amarone Cask has lost that typical Arran freshness, as the usual apples and pears are replaced by blackberries and a cornucopia of dried fruit. There’s sweetness aplenty though, with honey and Demerara sugar giving way to a hint of cloves.
Palate: Smooth and sumptuous, with the elevated bottling strength providing some much needed oomph. The profile is nutty at first, with pecans and milk chocolate praline. Then lush red berries reappear, before giving way to toasted barley and some wood spice towards the end. Extremely satisfying!
Finish: Long and lingering, with a bittersweet, fruity explosion of raisins and cherries. As the dust settles, we are treated to a slowly fading bouquet of dry, oaky flavours.
Verdict: Brimming with flavour and depth, the Amarone Cask is another great bargain from the Isle of Arran distillery. In my mind, the Cask Finishes are Arran at its finest, and the Amarone Cask is up there with the very best of them. Arran has done well to bottle the entire range at 50% abv, but even so this dram is not averse to a few drops of water. With or without water though, the Amarone Cask is a true crowd pleaser. So far I’ve not come across anyone who doesn’t like this stunner from Arran distillery. Well worth a try!