The first dram from the Twitter Tasting last week was Arran’s Sauternes Cask. I always feel like this is a remainder of how they started little over a decade ago.
When Arran’s first whiskies started to come out they had a mountain of cask finishes, from Sauternes, to Champagne, to Calvados and Rum and all kinds of other things. Like Bruichladdich they only didn’t release a Tequila cask, which is fine, I think.
I especially liked the Calvados cask back then, but I’m glad they narrowed the casks finishes down to just three at the moment. These being Sauternes, Amarone and Port cask finishes.
Full disclosure: I generally don’t like wine finished whiskies. There are some exceptions (like the Octomore Orpheus), but mostly, I just skip them.
The nose starts with mostly malty scents and a light fruitiness behind it. What stands out from the start is how sweet this all is. Some straw is there as well. The fruits are kiwi and orange, with some gingerbread too. A slight chemical whiff of cleaning alcohol if you inhale more deeply. The orange is just under ripe and has some bitterness of the seeds too. Melon peel, but the Sauternes keeps adding sweetness on top of everything.
The palate is sharper than I would have expected, I think that’s where the extra ABV comes in. Some alcohol, ginger and sharp cinnamon. The sweetness is slightly more honey like on the palate. The fruit is more tropical and more thick, like pineapple juice and peach. I also get a hint of licorice. Malty after a couple of seconds.
The finish loses some of the fruits that we had before. It’s more woody with dry oak shavings. Ginger, white pepper, and that sugary sweetness again.
Well, what to say. This isn’t a bad whisky at all, but it’s just not for me. The Sauternes adds a layer of thick sweetness that I don’t really enjoy and the rest of the flavors are a bit of a jumble. Not that this is not enjoyable, but I wouldn’t buy a bottle.
The main problem for this whisky might just be that there are so many affordable Arrans out there that are more tasty than this one, without having to resort to ‘strange’ casks. I’d go for the 14 year old, which is comparably priced to this one.
Arran Sauternes Cask, 2014 release, 50%. Available at Whiskybase for € 42.50