Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Arran Malt Sensory Kit

June 29th 2014, the Arran distillery turned 19 years of age, and celebrated this in that weekend with their annual festival. The day after some of us whisky enthusiasts were lucky enough to get selected for the Whisky Wire's fantastic twitter tasting, where we were treated to four of the distillery's whiskies from their core range, and their special releases. A very generous 10cl bottle of the 10yo, their most recent 17yo, the third and final Devil's Punchbowl and the Miss Black. All of these bottles were accompanied by the Arran Malt Sensory Kit, with a 3cl bottle of new make spirit at 68%, a handful of their malted barley and a similar amount of their grist - the milled malted barley.

sniffing a baby - the new make spirit at 68%
Starting the twitter tasting, Steve invited us all to have a careful but good sniff of the new make, where the initial high alcoholic presence is not overpowering the sweet and fruity base that can be found in most, if not all products from the Arran lineup. Thomas had already made a quick note when we were at the distillery, and in order to save some for a rainy day, we decided to close the little sample and quickly tuck it away.

a lovely youngster - the Arran Malt 10 year old
She is a great dram, and worth every penny you'll spend on it. You might get the idea you are drinking a Highland* or a Speyside whisky with a twist. We can only agree with the distillery's own thought:
"The classic expression of Arran - our fresh and unique island style is captured beautifully in our 10 Year Old Single Malt. First released in 2006, this is the flagship Single Malt of our distillery and one that we were very proud to launch to great acclaim. It is without doubt a 'must have' in the collection of all Single Malt Whisky enthusiasts."

savouring a teenager - the Arran Malt 17 year old

The contemporary new label of the 17 year old looks good and is quite refreshing from the old-fashioned design the 10 year old still holds, and as with the 10, this bottling is not chill filtered and presented with a natural colour, and is bottled at 46% to give that little extra. The 17yo is released in a trilogy, with last year’s 16yo in the same cask make-up as this 17yo, until the 18yo is ready in 2015 and will find her place in the core range of the distillery.
"This Limited Edition release of The Arran Malt at 17 Years Old has been produced from un-peated malted barley and matured in a selection of the finest ex-Sherry casks. The whisky has not been artificially coloured and has not been chill-filtered at bottling thus retaining the full range of aromas and flavours which typify this unique Island Single Malt. Only 9,000 bottles of The Arran Malt 17 Years Old have been released worldwide."

falling in love with a Devil - the Devil’s Punchbowl - chapter III

After the success of the first limited release of the Devil’s Punchbowl - drawn from 24 different peated and non-peated casks, and the second release nicknamed Chapter II - Angels and Devils - from 27 different cask-types, the distillery is now about to release the final expression iofn the trilogy, Chapter III - the Fiendish Finale from only 21 different casks, where the use of peated casks has been omitted. The name of the series has been borrowed from a Glacial depression Core na Ciche below the dramatic peak of Cioch na h-Oighe near Brodick on the Isle of Arran.
“Many of you will be looking out for the third and final chapter of The Devil's Punchbowl trilogy and we are happy to let you know that it is nearly ready and will be available for sale from our web shop on Wednesday 30th July! This chapter marks the final instalment in this very popular trilogy which started with Chapter One 'The Devil's Punchbowl' went on to Chapter Two 'Angels & Devils' and will now conclude with Chapter Three 'The Fiendish Finale'.”

one to have babies with - the Miss Black

The final dram of the night was the Miss Black. We had heard many good things about this, and were curious about what all the fuss was about. It was the fastest selling Arran Malt to date, and after having tasted it, we know that was not exaggerated whatsoever. 
"It is distilled on the 23rd of May 1997, matured in a first-fill, ex-Sherry hogshead #1997/820 and bottled on the 8th of April 2014. Only 231 bottles of this one... This was released on 17th May as the third in a series of Visitor Centre Exclusive bottlings 'Miss Black's Bottle'. This edition follows on from Campbell's Cask and The Dragon's Dram. It was released on 17th May 2014 and was sold out on 9th June 2014 - a record for this series! 'Miss Black's Bottle' is an exclusive cask chosen by Visitor Centre Manager Faye Waterlowe who married her husband David in Lochranza on 17th May. "
All in all, this twitter tasting was presented with a great attention to detail. The sample size made it possible to have another - more extensive tasting, and we even had some left to share with friends to have them discover the different styles the young distillery has to offer. 

Thanks Isle of Arran Distillery and the Whisky Wire for a great night and whiskies!

* we are fully aware that most of the Scottish islands, including the isle of Arran are part of the Highlands region, but for reference sake, we liked to use this description.

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