Monday, 14 January 2013

Arran 12 year old - Cask strength

I don’t know if there is such a thing as a bad single malt whisky. There is plenty of stuff that’s hugely overpriced or blandly uninspiring. But so far almost everything I’ve tasted has something to recommend it. I suppose it helps if you like peaty whisky- the only thing I’ve seen that really divides whisky enthusiasts.

One day maybe I’ll come across something that makes turn up my nose, but until then it feels like everything is on the spectrum between ‘Like’ and ‘Love’.

And so to the Arran 12yo Cask Strength.
I like it.
Review over…  

To elaborate a touch - I like it because it reminds me of Christmas Cake. Sticking my nose in the glass I picked up rum and dried fruit with a bit of spice. A very comforting and evocative smell for mid-winter. It’s sweet to the taste and I got a little bit of orange liquer when I took a sip. It looks rich and warming too.
It feels like an wintery afternoon indulgence.

 But I didn’t quite fall in love with it - it’s cask strength and I found the alcohol a bit overwhelming. A bit of burn when I gave it a sniff, a bit of tingle on the tongue as I worked it around my mouth. Yes, it’s stronger but you don’t always get that burn with cask strength bottlings and I found this needed more than a drop of water to calm it down.

Once you get past that it’s quite aggressively flavoured - very full on. The same kind of burst of flavour you get with full-bodied Aussie wine. It’s great if you’re in the mood. It is something a bit different and I’d rather be trying something like this - packed with flavour - than some of the more bland offerings out there.  But in the same way you don’t want to eat Christmas Cake every day, this isn’t a bottle I’d reach for too often.

What else? The price is around £40-odd which isn’t bad for a special edition, especially when it’s at ‘diluting juice’ strength. The Arran distillery is relatively new and it is an independent so there that in its favour. Always good to see an independent succeeding.

 In conclusion: a whisky for Christmas, but maybe not for life.

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