My week of Arran reviews got off to an inauspicious start with the Quarter Cask, Batch 3. Let’s hope this 14 yo moves us in the other direction. It’s been a while since I’ve had the Arran 14 but I’ve always liked it when I have in the past (see my review of a bottle from the 2010 release). I have to say I don’t remember seeing it on shelves here in a while but that may just be a marker of how little whisky I’ve bought in the last couple of years. This sample is not from a recent release, for what it’s worth: my source tells me the bottle is from 2018. I’m interested to see what it’s like.
Arran 14, 2018 Release (46%; from a bottle split)
Nose: Ah yes, a lovely blast of fruit, with lemon and pineapple leading the way; malt comes up from below to join the fruit, bringing a touch of yeast with it. Some oak framing it all below. On the second and third sniffs the fruit gets muskier with cider and overripe pears. A few drops of water push the acid down and emphasize the malt and muskier fruit.
Palate: Not quite as exuberantly fruity as the nose but otherwise in line with it. The texture is just a touch too thin; a nice bite at 46%. The fruit begins to get muskier as I swallow. With time there’s some pepper and some of that yeasty sourness shows up here as well. With more time still it seems to get thinner in both texture and flavour. Let’s see what water does. Hmm not much: it seems to emphasize the yeast and bring out a metallic note.
Finish: Long. Yes, nice development on the fruit which develops more tropical accents as it goes (pineapple, tart mango, a touch of makrut lime). The oak gets spicier at the end. As on the palate with water.
Comments: After taking one sip I immediately checked the availability of the Arran 14 in Minnesota. Alas, I couldn’t come up with anything. Let’s just say that if I could find this at a reasonable price I would buy a bottle. This is very good bourbon cask whisky—it would be a very good daily drinker, especially in the summer. Not one to linger over though, and I liked it better neat.
Rating: 86 points