Every year at The Arran Malt & Music Festival, the distillery releases a special festival bottling to celebrate.
In 2015, it was the distillery’s 20th birthday and since the previous festival releases had been increamenting through 16, 17, 18 year olds, then it seemed a reasonable guess that it would be a 19 year old whisky being bottled.
But no, Arran threw a curveball and instead released a 9 year old from a single French Oak Barrique.
A Barrique refers to the specific shape of the cask which is typically used for wine. It’s slightly smaller than a normal wine cask, holding 225 litres and this one was previously used to age Calvados.
The cask produced 386 bottles and is bottled at 59% ABV. Our notes are below.
Spikey nose with the high ABV, but there is plenty of vanilla and green apple.
A slightly sour, green note appears like gooseberry, but also accompanied by light honey and milk chocolate.
Thick rich liquid – sweet stewed apples at first with dark chocolate and nutmeg emerging afterwards.
Underlying malty sweetness can be detected along with some apple blossom perfume.
Honey apple sweetness at first, but replaced by a dry, slightly waxy finish with wood bitterness emerging and holding the flavour in the mouth for a while.
For me this is definitely more in the ‘interesting’ category than a whisky I love and would keep going back to. The flavours are good, but it’s lacking that wow-factor which I’d expect from a single cask Arran.
Neat, at 59% it’s far too strong for my palette but need to be careful with water as it’s still quite delicate and easy to drown the flavours.
Given it’s a limited release from almost years ago, it’s unlikely that the bottle will be available for sale anywhere outside of the odd auction listing, but personally I wouldn’t blow the budget to get a taste.