Arran Distillery produces some fantasic whiskies and this Amarone Cask Finish is possibly one of the most unusual.
The Cask Finish range of expressions are created by maturing the spirit in Bourbon casks for the first part of it’s life (around 8 years) then another ‘finish’ cask for the final nine months or so.
Amarone is an Italian dry red wine and before even opening the bottle, you can see the impact this cask has had on the spirit; there aren’t many proper pink whiskies but this is one. It’s bottled at 50% ABV and there is no age statement on the bottle.
The nose is rich and fresh; with kirsch-soaked raisins, raspberries and rose oil. Some coffee chocolate appears and Black Forest Gateaux is the dominant smell. It’s mouthwatering.
Water takes some of the sharpness out and softens the fruit, but it’s still hugely rich. Wow!
Neat, there’s initially a lovely mouth-feel with smooth rich chocolate with cherry sweetness coming through and coating your mouth. Very nice, but then a huge wave of dryness comes in and completely takes over.
The dryness eventually subsides and is replaced by a slightly bitter tannic flavour into the medium finish.
Water affects the flavour in the same way as the nose, dampening the freshness and opening up the chocolate notes. The dryness is still there in the middle and finish though.
The Arran Amarone Cask Finish is an interesting whisky, but for me it falls too much into the experimental category and it’s unfortunate that the flavour doesn’t deliver on that fantastic nose.
If there was any sweetness in that finish then I think it would be more pleasant, but the dryness in the middle is too much for me.
Reading other reviews, there are a lot of fans of this Amarone expression so definitely depends on what you like, however for me it’s not an whisky I could recommend.