Arran 10

Arran 10
After a week of whiskies in the 20+ age range let’s try some that are a fair bit younger. Who knows, maybe I’ll be more enthused by  them than I was by the older lot. First up, the Arran 10, the entry-level malt from the only distillery on the Isle of Arran. (At least I assume it’s their entry-level malt: they haven’t slapped out a NAS with a Gaelic name when I wasn’t looking, have they?)

I don’t have a whole lot of experience of the Arran and in fact may not actually have ever had the Arran 10 before. At least I don’t recall it—not that that’s saying much at this point. I do like the 14 yo very much, and I also liked the single sherry and bourbon casks I reviewed (the port cask finish, not as much). Interested to see what I make of this one. Let’s get straight to it.

Arran 10 (46%; from a sample received in a swap)

This was apparently bottled in 2009. How much variation there has been in their output since, I don’t know—there’s not a lot of talk of Arran in whisky geek circles.

Nose: Citrus (lime) and malt and a bit of honey—not a whole lot of any of them but a nice, fresh nose. Gets muskier as it sits and the malty note turns more cereally; a bit of salt too. Water pulls more sweetness out.

Palate: Very much as on the nose at first, but sans the honeyed sweetness. The lime expands as I work it around my mouth and swallow—very fresh indeed. Chalkier on the second and third sips but not astringent. With more time the wood is a little more apparent, or at least that’s what I think the slight tannic grip is. The pepper starts showing up earlier too. With a lot more time the chalkiness abates a little, or at least it’s joined finally by the sweetness indicated by the nose. Water knocks the chalkiness back and integrates the other notes.

Finish: Medium-long. The lime gets zestier as it goes, and the lime-peel bitterness mixes with an increasing pepperiness. Not much change on the finish with water.

Comments: Nothing complex or special but very pleasant and gets better as it sits. Is the current version similar? If so, this is an ideal summer whisky. Good value for money below $40, and in some areas it seems to be available closer to $30.

Rating: 83 points.

Thanks to Florin for the sample!

13 thoughts on “Arran 10

  1. As a meta-comment, it’s nice to see your own sample bottle (the generally hated square + big-mouth design) returned to you. Soon we’ll start tracking these, like the dollar bills.

    On a completely unrelated topic: when is your birthday? I want to buy you a funnel set.

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    • Why are these sample bottles hated? I’ve been looking to buy some sample bottles. What are the favorites? I found some round and tinted brown 4oz bottles with the polycone cap. Are there other caps or liners that are preferred? Any particular vendors you prefer?

      What funnels would you recommend? I just bought these: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FKERMW/

      Thanks for any advice!

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      • I don’t know why these are hated. They’re my favorite design as the wide mouths make it very easy to fill them directly from bottles without fear of spillage or the need for a funnel. It’s funnels I find painful when filling 12 bottles for a swap (as you have to clean the funnel between fills).

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        • Easy to fill, easy to spill. Payback is when you pour out of them. Even worse are the 6oz bottles with even bigger mouth – it’s like pouring whisky out of a pickle jar. Anything less than 50% whisky spill is deemed a success. MAO is the only one who procures these square bottles, he probably blows them himself in his backyard shack.

          Alex, those funnels are the ones I have – they are perfect. Yes, one should wash them between pours, but if you’re careful not to start with the Laphroaigs and Ardbegs you don’t have to be a stickler – it’s more important to wash & drain the sample bottles carefully. (And then drain them some more.) Boston round with polycone cap (clear or brown) is industry standard; 2oz are for sample exchanges (some 1oz come handy too), I use the 4oz for my archive and 4oz + 8oz for pouring out bottle heels in order to prevent excessive bottle oxidation, or for bottle shares.

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          • Yes, one should wash them between pours, but if you’re careful not to start with the Laphroaigs and Ardbegs you don’t have to be a stickler

            Well, now we know why all my reviews of samples from Florin are all over the place….

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          • Thanks for all the detail! I had come to many of those same conclusions on my own, but wasn’t sure what the general consensus was among the sample sharing crowd since I haven’t done that yet. I was also planning to get a few sizes for the same reason you mention.

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          • It’s called laziness, is what it’s called. In a small sample, especially of delicate malts, even tiny bits of some other whisky borne over in a funnel can have an impact.

            Alex, if you’re going to use funnels to pour samples into round bottles you should buy a whole bunch of funnels as well. Me, I’ve not had any problems with French square bottles. Yes, they sometimes leak in transit, but I’ve received far more leaky Boston rounds. And I don’t mean to suggest that Florin gets blind drunk before pouring from 6 or 8 oz square bottles but I’ve never had a spill worth mentioning. Pouring out whisky from 6 or 8 oz French squares is only messy if you fill them all the way; and if you do, you can just use a small spoon or pipette to draw enough out into your glass before pouring the rest—once the level is below the mouth it’s no different than pouring from a regular wide-mouthed 750 ml bottle (in fact, better than pouring from those Signatory decanters with the wide lips).

            But yes, the polycone caps inserts are a must. I cringe when the occasional incoming bottle in a swap turns out to have a paper insert that either falls off when I remove the cap or is entirely missing (meaning the whisky is sloshing onto the glue caked to the inside of the cap)

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  2. As a secondary note, it’s interesting that the 10 Year is made entirely from ex-sherry cask whisky, but the sherry has a pretty light touch on the spirit. I think they must use all refill casks for this.

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