It took me a while to find this bottling on Whiskybase because I didn’t know the age. It being 13 years old means it’s bottled in 2013, and I thought it was a more recent release.
Anyway, I’ve been loving the combination of American Oak and Arran of late and when there used to be bourbon in that cask before it was reused in Lochranza, I’m an even happier camper.
When I saw that there was going to be a single bourbon cask in the Arran Twitter Tasting, I was very curious to find out whether or not it would trump the 18 year old, and possibly the White Stag bottling. I already knew the 18 year old (so it won’t be reviewed again tomorrow) and love it, so this one had a bar set high.
There seems to be quite a number of single bourbon casks out there. A lot of private releases and the distillery itself releases some every now and then too. What I do notice is that only recently there have been quite a number of new independent releases. Back when Arran was only ten years old and even earlier there were some too, but in between it has been rather quiet, which is interesting.
Anyway, this single cask sold out quite a while ago so I was quite surprised to find it in the Twitter Tasting. Generally those tastings contain mostly recent releases and possible something that hasn’t come out yet, like the White Stag.
The fruit hits you right off the bat. There’s both dried and fresh pineapple, some dried peach and apricot. Barley sugar, white oak. As with the others I’ve tried there also is a slight solvent like you expect to find in the new spirit. A hint of pine too.
The palate is quite sharp, as I expected. Some licorice as well as sweetness with lots of yellow fruits. Apple, pineapple, peach. It’s quite hot if you let it swim for a bit and then it picks up some ginger again too. The fruits remind me of some Lochsides I’ve had from 1981.
The finish continues on the yellow fruit road. The pine hint is back, but there also might be some mint. A hint of creamy chocolate milk suddenly, but still mostly apples, pineapples, peaches.
While this one was not everyone’s favorite of the evening, and some people even found it a bit too hot with too much boozy heat, I absolutely love it. The fruits are gorgeous, there just a hint of oak and the spirit is present too. It ticks all the boxes that I like ticked.
It’s a shame it’s gone, but keep in mind that Arran is very consistent and their new bourbon casks of 12 to 15 years old all taste more or less similar with the devil being in the details. If you like slightly spirity whiskies that show loads of fruit, this stuff is for you.
(You can get Bright Early Spring, which is a 12 year old single bourbon cask for NL here)
Arran 13 year old, 1999, single bourbon cask 99/103, 55.3%, UK Exclusive