Islands Region – Single cask limited bottling, 165 bottles total (and interestingly low number of bottles from a single cask…), first-fill Oloroso Sherry, Cask # 1785 – 56%ABV – $125 (or so)
Apologies for letting a week or so pass by with out a post/review. It’s that busy time of year where I’m out on the road; sales calls, trade shows, training seminars, etc…
OK, enough with the apologies, let’s get talking about whisky. One thing I’d like to call to your attention on today’s post is the title of today’s post. More specifically, the last five words in the title of today’s post: “…exclusively for the US market”. While many brands out there seem to focus on special releases for Duty Free, the French market, etc… Arran seems to be doing a bang up job sending the US some special release stuff. Most notably, single cask releases. True, the US did not get any of the “Icons of Arran” such as the Peacock, The Rowan Tree or The Westie. And no, we did not see the beautiful “Sleeping Warrior“.
However, being that more and more single cask product (E.G. Single Ex-Bourbon, 8yo Sherry Cask bottling and today’s topic, the Premier Sherry Cask) is being sent our way, my guess/hope is that we’ll also start seeing more of the other “limited” releases sent our way – at least a small portion of the bottlings. Fingers crossed!
A wise man once told me that the Arran spirit is perhaps too light and delicate to do well in a first fill sherry casks for an extended period of time. This whisky is 15yo and was matured for that entire length of time in a first-fill Oloroso sherry butt. Hmmm, let’s see how the spirit held up:
Color – Really dark – perhaps the darkest I’ve seen in an Arran whisky. Dark yet translucent, deep brown fluid. Like an Oloroso sherry. The picture of the bottle shown above does not do the liquid justice in the color department.
On the nose – Sticky cherry sauce followed by green apples – super fresh and very prominent.
Caramel and coriander notes are found here too.
Sherry soaked angel food cake (if there were such a thing).
Very hot and alcoholic nose.
Celery leaves then something slightly acrid (highly browned fruits perhaps) but yet… fitting and very pleasant in the context.
Water balloons (sans the water) – nice little rubbery notes.
On the mouth – Chocolates and chilis and loads (loads!) of stewed prunes and chocolate sauce.
Assorted dried fruits and even a little banana.
Sugared and sweet black plums.
More apples and way in the back, some saltiness and even some notes of plum pudding (and… tobacco??).
Ooey melted caramel. Really quite scrumptious.
Finish – Lasting warmth and just the right amount of drying. Salty yet sweet.
In sum – There’s a reason Arran has been making headlines and headway within the community of whisky drinks but this is not it.
Actually, this takes Arran in another direction but it only helps to show that the Arran spirit can do well in sherry casks — it can hold its own as a heavily sherried whisky.
I’d suggest this whisky as an after dinner treat. It’s an indulgence – grab the bottle and a glass, hide yourself away with a book, maybe a warm fire and a little plate of turkish delights and, enjoy some YOU time.
Top notch stuff. Arran, I tip my hat to you.
Special thanks goes out to Andy H for the sample!