The Dutch like Arran. Or more apt, the mainland of north-western Europe likes Arran. Over the last couple of years there have been loads of single casks for just about every festival and shop that’s in the business of doing single casks.
The Dutch alone have had at least five single casks for the country, and I know there are festival bottlings in Holland, Belgium and Germany, apart from other private bottlings.
So, apart from liking them a lot, there seems to be plenty to go around. Maybe this is why they come out at quite reasonable prices. A 19 year old single cask at a hundred bucks is all but unheard of nowadays.
But, as always, is it any good? If history would be an indicator, then yes.
This one comes from a sherry hogshead, which seems to be the sherry that goes well with Arran, and apparently was quite available over the years. It follows neatly on last year’s single cask Arran for Whisky in Leiden, which is a festival organized by the same shop (which currently has a neat 10% discount on everything).
Somehow, these newer, older Arrans all have a bit of a ‘middle of the road’ nose to them, while still being very good. There’s some white oak with dried fruits. Nothing too exotic, mostly peaches and apricots. Maybe some plums too. Quite sweet with a touch of cinnamon. The oak becomes more prominent after a short while.
More spicy than expected, and a bit sharper than the nose too. Sweet, with oak and fruits leading the way. A touch of vanilla and quite some white oak. Peaches, apricots, plums, all dried. Becomes more spicy and a touch dry after about half a minute or so.
The finish is even more spicy than the palate, with cinnamon, and some dried ginger. The fruits are still there with maybe some orange added to the mix of stone fruits. Quite some dryness from the oak too.
As said before, the nose is good but not spectacular. However, the spiciness that builds over the nose to the palate to the finish makes this a far more interesting drink than expected based on the nose. The ginger on the finish is rather good and not overpowering, and the oak never takes the lead over the fruit and spices either.
Not the most spectacular Arran I’ve ever had, but a very good whisky nonetheless. Actually, there’s nothing to complain about and with a 19 year old single cask Arran coming in at € 100, it’s a good deal as well!
Arran 19, 30/09/1996 – 02/02/2016, Sherry Hogshead 1390, 54.7%. It was available for € 99.99 but it sold out by now.