Back in 2014, right on the heels of The White Wizard and The Dark Lord came this release. Since then there have been a few, mostly bourbon casks from the importer and mostly sherry casks for festivals, shops and clubs.
This one is slightly younger than The White Wizard was so it’s interesting to see how much a couple of years matter for a whisky like this.
Also, when this came out I took a bit of time to see if I wanted to start focusing on Arran. Mostly since the whiskies they were releasing around that time were fairly awesome, and the 18 years old was about to come out as well.
In the end I decided I didn’t want to do that, even though the whisky is great. It’s mostly that all their whisky is about the same age and they still need some time to get a proper spread. Apart from that I don’t care for the wine finishes they’re doing either. But still, I wouldn’t mind picking up a cracking bourbon cask release like this every few months.
Lots of fruit and vanilla. Fruit salad, some chalky notes too. Spirity still, not as wood driven as its predecessor, The White Wizard. Some honey in the background too, and some malt. But not a lot.
Quite sharp, sharper than you’d expect at 56%. More spirit driven too, with some sweetness coming from the alcohol as well as the oak. Pineapple, pear, vanilla. Slightly oily but also dry and sharp.
Less sweet on the finish with more dried pineapple, oak and spirit. The chalky notes are more prominent here than earlier. Rather long.
This is actually a very good whisky. The wood is present and makes itself well known, but the spirit is not completely smothered yet. I think they bottled this at exactly the right time.
There’s fruit, herbs, honey, oak, quite a bit of everything, really. So, because of that this is exactly what you’d expect it to be, but it does that really, really well. Quite an awesome dram.
It’s probably long gone but this was for the Dutch market so there might be some off-the-beaten-path shop that still has it. Recommended if you can get it at a decent price.
Arran 12yo, Bright Early Spring, 56%, 13/12/01-09/12/14, Bourbon Barrel