Arran 11, 1998, Bourbon Cask 650

Arran 11, Bourbon CaskA single bourbon cask Arran released in 2009. I think this one might still be around in the US, and I think it runs $15-20 more than the 14 yo at 46%. I tasted and wrote this up immediately following the 14 yo that I posted a review of yesterday. Let’s get right to it.

Arran 11, 1998 (57.6%; bourbon cask 650; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: Not a million miles away from the 14 yo at 46% at first nosing: grassy malt and fast expanding lemon. The musky fruit I got on the 14 yo is less in evidence here and there’s more beeswax than honey; white pepper as well. Quite clearly a sibling of the 14 yo. With water there’s more citronella on this one too and a lot more vanilla. Really quite lovely.

Palate: Very drinkable at full strength. Lemon first then sweet malt. Barley-led spirit–this is why they call it malt whisky. Very nice indeed. As with the 14 yo, not the most complex palate but what there is is very good. But let’s see if more air or water release any twists or turbulence. With time there’s a lot more fruit: melon, some peach, maybe even a little over-ripe banana. The fruit gets quite musky -sweet with time and there’s some nice counterpoint from toasted wood that also emerges. As with the 14 yo water is better for the nose than the palate but this is still very good with water: there’s clearly banana now and more pepper and even some tart apricot.

Finish: Medium-long. Lingering fruit and some wood spice. Gets fruitier and sweeter with water.

Comments: Remarkably similar to the 14 yo. I think I like this one a bit more, but if the price difference is significant in your area I don’t think you lose very much by going with the 14.

Thanks to Alex S. for the sample!

Rating: 87 points.

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