I’ve previously reviewed a single bourbon cask Arran and a single sherry cask Arran. This one is not, I believe, a single cask, and it is in any case not matured for the full term in port casks, merely finished in them–though for how long I don’t know. I’m not sure either how old it is. It’s hard to stop up this gushing fount of useful information but it’s time to taste the whisky.
Arran Port Cask Finish (50%; from a sample received in a swap)
Nose: Nutty and raisiny with just a little bit of cherry syrup. After a minute or two there’s some citrus–some orange peel and some lime–and a mild grassy note. The grassy note actually picks up with time and the lime gets stronger too. With water the citrus is mixed in with some melon and there’s some toffee too. Some of the candied sweetness from the palate shows up here too now.
Palate: Leads with the grassiness and the lime followed by a big whack of malty sweetness. I’m not really getting very much berry or other red fruit but it is pretty sweet–transitioning from malty to candied sweetness. More lime on subsequent sips and after a bit some orange too. Okay, let’s add some water. Less sweet at first with water, with more intense lime but then the sweetness shows up again. There’s also an interesting burst of muskier fruit but it fades very quickly.
Finish: Medium. The grassy note lingers and gets more than a little metallic; the sweetness hangs around too getting a little artificial as it goes and picking up a bitter edge. Much more lime with water but the metallic note is still there.
Comments: This is not heavy on the red fruit/berry notes (as port finished/matured whisky often can be) and the distillery character (as I see it: bright citrus, grassy malt) comes out clearly. Still, it is rather sweet on the palate, especially neat, and I didn’t care for the finish at all. Quite nice on the nose though. I do wonder if more or less water would have brought that musky fruit on the palate out more fully but, alas, I don’t have any more of this to play with and on clear and present merits am not going to get a bottle.
Rating: 83 points. (Barely pushing 80 neat.)