We’ve been looking forward to this release for a while! The prospect of whisky from the Isle of Arran containing a vatting of sherry and bourbon casks, together with peated and unseated spirit was enough to make the mouth water!
The Devil’s Punch Bowl is a limited edition whisky of The Arran Single Malt. It contains handpicked whisky aged between 6 years old (peated bourbon barrels), all the way up to the age of 16 years old (a mixture of sherry butts and bourbon barrels). In total it a marriage of 24 casks, and is bottled unchilfiltered at cask strength which is 52.3%. This first chapter of the release is also limited to 6,660 bottles and if the Icons of Arran series is anything to go by, will fly off the shelves!
I decided to pour a dram of this whisky just as Andy Murray was entering the fourth set on Saturday evening, battling against the clock to stay in Wimbledon. Neither disappointed! Sitting in the glass the whisky is golden barley in colour. The nose is lovely. First of all there is a massive sherry hit with a lot of smokiness and some vanilla pods; this then dissipates to reveal chilli, damp peat and some menthol. Finally the sherry influence offers up toffee and dried orange peel.
The taste more than lived up to the nosing. The sherry came through strongly, think orange and apricots – but was very clean with no trace of sulphur (testament to the great cask selection). The whisky has a great mouthfeel and was rich with some 100% cocoa dark chocolate with some subtle peat in the background. The whisky has been inspired by the Coire na Ciche (a glacial hollow on Arran) and it certainly transported me to the mountains as I enjoyed it – reminding me of a wet and stormy day on top of Snowdon last October. The rain came lashing in and combined with the wind it drenched us, immersing us in the mountains. Thats what this whisky does – it draws you in, it involves you and leaves you feeling invigorated having experienced all it can offer.
The finish tasted of black coffee and had a real depth and lingering smoke; reminiscent of hand cutting peat in the mist. Fabulous.
The Devil’s Punch Bowl is a great whisky – the combination of casks and different spirits is a fine one and it is easy to see why The Arran Single Malt has a great reputation. This release will only add to the acclaim the distillery has received and is sure to be a hit. Take it to Wimbledon, drink it outdoors – you will love it!
[The image is kindly provided by The Arran Single Malt]