Arran 9yr Single Cask – Bottled for the SMWSA – Cask number 121.32

Islands region – 56.3%ABV – $90 (no longer available – only 312 bottles available)

The Single Cask, Cask Strength goodness of Arran Malt whisky brought to you (me) by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

One of the beautiful things about whiskies that are drawn from a Single Cask is that they are 100% unique whiskies, never to be repeated again (the adventure seeker in me LOVES this).

Also, you can find whiskies from a single distillery that will often times be quite different from that distillery’s standard offerings.  Some good examples of this is this Macallan I tasted here, and these Bowmore whiskies I’ve had here.

So, what will we find with this SMWS bottling of this nine year old Arran cask?

On the noseFruity nose filled with lemons & a good helping of pineapple in a light syrup.

Strong nose – it’ll git ya!

Toffee cremes & salted butter.

Birch beer.

Vanilla bourbon goodness!

Buttered corn, creamed corn, corn grain.

On the mouth Insanely creamy mouthfeel.

Like drinking caramel (there’s a sting with it, however – it’ll git ya!).

Malty, bread-like.

Apricots & warm apple pie.


Very tannic – a drying sensation throughout the mouth.

More toffee tones.

Finish Long and creamy with lemon lozenges.

Apricots galore!

In sum A big bourbon influenced dram.  Another win for the SMWS if you ask me.  Insanely approachable, fruity and yum-yum-yummy.  Enjoy in good company.  Share this with close friends on a nice summer’s day.

Whisky Round Table – Volume 1, Episode 7

It’s hard to believe it’s December already (and Chanukah at that!!).

Well, it is what it is and here we are at another month into the Whisky Round Table meetings.

We twelve noble, brave, smart and horribly modest knights get together on a monthly basis to discuss all things whisky.

This very apropos December question was raised by Neil and Joel of

“The festive season sees the big players in the spirits business heavily discounting some of our favourite whiskies in the supermarket chains with a view to entice the ‘once a year’ buyer and to grab some healthy market share. But does it de-value the product? Or do you think by discounting decent malts, it allows those with a curiosity to develop their palates further, albeit at a discounted rate??”

Follow this link for the answers to this great question.

As a reminder, the valiant knights (and links to their blogs) of this round table are:

Chris – Nonjatta
Keith – Whisky Emporium
Karen & Matt – Whisky For Everyone
Ruben – Whisky Notes
Mark – Glasgow’s Whisky (And Ale)
Neil & Joel –
Lucas & Chris – Edinburgh Whisky Blog
Jason – Guid Scotch Drink
Gal – Whisky Israel
Mike – Whisky Party
Peter – The Casks
Joshua (hey, that’s me!)– The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society

Arran Malt finished in a Sauternes Cask

Islands region – 50%ABV – £37 | €44

Tasting Arran after Arran after Arran after Arran after Arran after Arran, etc… has been lots of fun but I’m no where near done!  For a company that’s only 15yrs old, they’ve had a lot of different bottlings.

While I don’t speak German, just looking at the pictures on this Arran collector’s website, shows me just how many whiskies this distillery has put out!  Check it out here.

Today I’m going delve quickly into something Arran does quite a bit of – special cask finishes.

Currently, Arran has 5 different special cask finishes in their range: This one which is from a Sauternes cask, a Port cask, an Amarone cask, a Moscatel cask and then their 15th year anniversary whisky, an Amontillado Sherry cask finish.

Sauternes is a dessert wine and the first dessert wine I ever had was Sauternes.  When it comes to whiskies, I enjoy various wine finished casks.  It’s always a treat to try new ones out.  Let’s see what this one offers us:

On the nose Quite unlike some of the other Sauternes finishes whiskies I’ve had.

Spent matches.

Very grassy and notes of soured milk.

Lemon zest and walnuts.

Dandelion jelly & Crab apple jelly.

Apricot in the distance.

The taste of unripened pears which is offset but something meaty in here.

Man, this is an odd one!

Salted biscuits.

On the mouth Like a mirror of all I discovered on the nose.

Additional notes of apple pie crust.

Quite the viscous fluid!

Red bitter berries.

Baked apples wwwaaaayyyy in the distance.

Abundant salt… Better yet, salty tomato juice.

Finish Moves on to more nuts – salted cashews.  Very long.

In sum Complex and balanced but not up my alley.  Warming and with just the right mouthfeel but the meatiness of this one was just too much (for me).  Some will LOVE this one.  I respect it (really, a well constructed whisky), I don’t love it.

Special thanks goes out to Andy Hogan for the sample!

The Malt Maniacs have announced their 2010 whisky awards

What?  You don’t know who the Malt Maniacs are?  They’re basically the founders of online whisky geekery & dorkdom.

With over 30 members in more than 15 countries, these guys are the who’s who, the big-whigs, top-dogs, head-cheeses of whisky tasting and reviewing.

Over a period of 4 or 5 weeks these folks tastes 262 blind samples and from those samples they created this awards list – enjoy and respect!

Arran Peacock – Vintage 1996

Islands region – 46%ABV – £42 | €50

The Arran Peacock made some big noise when it was released.  It seemed as though every blogger and whisky writer from here to there tasted it, loved it, wrote about.  I thought it might be a good idea to do the same but then second guessed it.  I wanted to be the Johnny-come-lately to the party and post my review AFTER all this precious fluid was sold out.  No, not really.  I just made a funny.

Truth be told, I’ve had a sample of this whisky for some time and shame on me for not tasting and posting about this stuff sooner.  This is very nice.  So nice that Jim Murray, in his 2011 Whisky Bible, awarded it the Best Single Malt Scotch 11-15 years old with a whopping 96pts out of 100.  Not to shabby!

A special thanks goes out to Jason of Guid Scotch Drink for the sample!

So, what does Joshua Hatton, author of the Whisky Torah think about this stuff?  Read on.

On the nose Oh, you big sweetie!  Aren’t you just filled with all sorts of fun candies?

Did you just come back from trick-or-treating?  Well, this is surely no trick – it’s quite the treat!

Strawberry & raspberry pixie stix.

A full roll of smartees and a pack of pineapple lifesavers.

Vanilla is right there.

Some plastic shopping bags (I get this in whiskies every now and again, huh).

On the mouth Pow! Big caramels upfront followed by golden delicious apples.

Pineapple, white pepper and chloroseptic.

All of these notes hit me at the same time.

The mouthfeel is peppery and abrasive.

Yellow onion.

Lemon custard.

Finish– Short but with lasting pepper.

In sum Everything is in it’s right place.  A mid day dram, summery and sweet.  Smell the roses.  Revel in all the small things that makes life so beautiful.

A special thanks goes out to Jason of Guid Scotch Drink for the sample!