Isle of Arran are one of Scotland's newer distilleries, having been founded in 1995. Arran has a long history of illicit stills  and only once before 1995 saw a legal distilling operation located in Lagg. The founding of Arran was achieved through the sale of 'Founders Bonds' which, for an investment of capital, gave buyers 5 cases of Lochranza blended whisky and 5 cases of Arran Founders Reserve when it was ready to be bottled in 2001. Time has passed by quickly and now Arran is able to offer a wide range of single malts in their core range, from 10 year olds through to an 18 year old.  The business is growing quickly and recently announced plans to build a new Arran facility - back on Lagg once again.

Posted 30 August 2017

You might not know who Emily Chappell is by name, but you’ve doubtless already seen her work. Emily is the artist who designs the graphic novel style labels for That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s range of independently bottled whiskies. Her time is spent not just creating the now iconic labels, but also researching them – digging into whisky folklore for interesting and oft-times quirky stories about both the distilleries and the people who worked at them. The fun and colourful labels are somewhat of a ‘code’ of knowledge, historical references and in-jokes about each individual distillery. You’ll certainly need some hefty whisky smarts to pick up on each and every one.

Posted 03 May 2017

Cask 'finishing', once thought the preserve of the experimental is now a commonplace sight across whisky world. Perhaps the first example of this approach was from Balvenie's David Stewart who took a traditionally oaked whisky and re-casked it into a sherry butt to see what would happen. 

Posted 19 July 2017

It’s hard to imagine that Isle of Arran Distillery has only been around for a shy over 20 years – there’s a constantly growing number of releases from the distillery and an expanding fan base all getting exciting for the unveiling of the distillery's first official 21 year old in the next few years. The Arran core range is a mix of traditional age-statements bottlings (10, 14 & 18 year olds) and wine-finished whiskies (port, amarone, madeira, sauternes). We recently took a look at the 2017 amarone release, so there's no time like the present to take a step back to the beginning and take alook at the Arran entry level bottling – the 10 year old.

Posted 05 October 2017

The 10 years that Master Distiller James MacTaggart has been with Arran have passed quickly – the distillery has gained in stature and reputation, reached the milestone of introducing an 18 year old to its core range and are developing their plans to open a second distillery on the southern coast of the Isle of Arran at Lagg. In the meantime, the distillery is celebrating MacTaggart’s 10 years with the release of the ‘James MacTaggart Anniversary Single Malt’.

Posted 08 March 2018

The Dramble’s web guru Danny is a huge fan of The Arran Malt – it’s very much his talisman whisky. Ever since I introduced him to the limited edition 18 year old (the distillery’s first to reach this level of maturity) a few years ago, he’s become both a convert, and a preacher for the quality of whisky being made over in Lochranza. His bottle collection shows this journey of discovery quite clearly. My experience with Arran goes back a few years earlier to when the distillery was still building up its stocks and starting to create its first core range. The first Arran 12 year old had rolled off the production line in 2008 - my introduction came two years later when the 14 year old was revealed.

Posted 09 November 2017

Danny’s favourite distillery makes another SMWS appearance with this 17 year old Arran that was distilled on 20th April 2000. It was matured for 16 years in an ex-Bourbon barrel and then re-racked into a 2nd fill toasted hogshead for another year of slumbering. One of 234 bottles. Spicy & Dry flavour profile.

Posted 31 January 2018

The colour of a whisky plays a significant part in its overall visual appeal, but also invariable leads to the forming of assumptions – lighter whisky being less flavourful, darker being matured for longer and therefore being more flavoursome, or having a particularly large sherry influence. Neither of these statements are necessarily the case. The colour of whisky might provide you with some clues as to its maturation and possible flavours combinations, but only through tasting can you validate your suppositions. Today’s whisky provides us with a perfect example with which to learn from.


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