12 Barrels, as said in previous posts, is not really a bottler. It’s a group of friends who’ve decided to buy some casks of whisky (12, by my guess…) and bottle that for themselves. Of course, you end up with a shitload of the same whisky, so some bottles get sold on, and I happen to be on the list of emailees for them.
So yes, of course I buy one. They’ve proven that the bottles are always worth a gamble, even though sometimes they’re not as awesome as you hope, but generally they pan out really well.
Let’s see where this Arran sits, because that one came in last week. I did a bottle share with it since ‘having more bottles’ isn’t exactly on my list of priorities right now. All six samples sold really fast, and I already finished my end of the bottle. Of course, a 15 year old Arran going for € 70 helps!
Some rich fruitiness, with dried apple, banana and some buttery biscuits. Quite a lot of vanilla and pastry sweetness. Some time in the glass makes it slightly more dry, with a peppery note.
The palate is a lot more dry, with some crusty French bread. Apples, pears, banana too. Egg washed puff pastry.
The thick, syrupy sweetness from the nose is back. Banana juice, apples. Not too long, but nice.
As far as Arran whisky from bourbon casks goes, this one is on the sweet side and is less fruity than some of these official private casks from some years ago. Things called ‘White Wizard’ and ‘Bright Early Spring’ were very crisp with gorgeous fruitiness. This one sits more in the direction of pastry notes and equally baked fruits. Which isn’t bad at all, but it is a little too sweet for me to score higher.
I guess the surprising thing here is that, contrary to Arrans I’ve had in the past, although I’ve not really kept track of what the distillery is doing the last couple of years, this one doesn’t really choose a direction. It stays in the middle of the road.