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!