Having been impressed by the Arran 14 year old I was keen to get my hands on a bottle of this 18 year old offering from the distillery. The 14 year old was matured in ex bourbon and sherry casks and I believe the same is true for this 18 year old. Arran present their core range (10, 14, 18 & 21 year old) of single malts as natural colour, non chill filtered and with an age statement which is commendable but I do find it annoying that the maturation process is not stated on their labels. This isn’t just a criticism of Arran, many brands are guilty of this. So I assume that the 18 year old is pretty much the same as the 14 year old but older by 4 years.
Whisky: Arran 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 46%
Nose: Apples, pears, mango, citrus cordial, throat lozenge, dried fruit, brine
Taste: Malt, citrus rind, liquorice, ginger, aniseed, oak, salt
Finish: Malt, light salt, oak tannin
Summary: The aromas on the nose gave me the impression that this will follow on nicely from the 14 year old but when it came to the taste I was a bit disappointing. The lively citrus, tropical fruit and coastal notes are present on the nose but with an added bit of rich fruit but then on the taste these notes become more subdued and is taken over by notes of aniseed and oak. The oak being quite present. There is also a mineral quality to this which is quite nice and gives it an austere profile. I can see the resemblance to the 14 year old but it doesn’t live up to my expectations. Perhaps I was expecting too much. My opinion is that single malts with the flavour profile such as Arran are sensitive to sherry maturation. The balance is spot on with the 14 year old but not with this 18 year old.
Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,
1 – not to my preference
2 – tastes fine but does not excite me
3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally
4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf
5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf
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