The Isle of Arran Distillers have recently released their oldest official bottling to date. Limited to 9000 bottles the Arran 16 is produced from a combination of bourbon and sherry casks and crafted from un-peated spirit. It is bottled at 46% and is a precursor to a 17 year old ( to be released in 2014) and the distillery’s first 18 year old which is due in 2015.
We were thrilled to be given the opportunity to try this whisky, especially after enjoying whiskies from Arran in the recent past. Here then are our thoughts on the Arran 16.
The nose is extremely creamy and full of fresh vanilla that seems to be encapsulated in a mixture of fresh coffee grounds and dark cocoa powder. There are notes of fresh wood bark chippings (damp) and there is a lovely citrus streak that runs through the spirit that is a combination of fresh lemon zest and orange pith. Finally is that the merest whiff of smoke that we can detect?
The palate is again a creamy explosion, bursting with vanilla pods and tinged with more than a hint of chili heat. The whisky sticks to the gums and offers up whole black peppercorns and some maritime air before revealing a slightly hidden darker side. The finish is smooth and long, much like the heat from a well constructed Jalfrezi. It lingers before offering a final flourish of creaminess.
Overall this is a lovely whisky – well made and very interesting. The creamy vanilla notes are delicious, and when combined with the spicy heat it makes for a winning combination.