Today we have another TWE exclusive single cask from the distillery’s second year of production. Sharing the same age as the suspected wine cask from a few months back, this bottling also comes from an unspecified cask type – however in this instance the profile is much more readily recognisable and is undoubtedly derived from sherry.
274 bottles were produced at 49.5% ABV and were available for £199 via The Whisky Exchange’s website. They all sold out rather sharpish – with the bulk shifting before TWE had even sent their usual promo email.
Nose: Immediate rich and polished fruits. Mirabelles, morello cherries and plums are lifted by candied orange peels and asides of dried mango slices. Very much as the intersection of darkness and light. Nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger and ground and then sprinkled over bundt cake, whilst currants and macerated in Armagnac and vintage fruit liqueurs. Dilution expresses hot house vines together with additional orange asides from tangerine and clementine. But the depth and complexity feel quite stripped away.
Taste: Considerably sweeter now. Cherries and berries lead – bright, fresh and quite verdantly leafy. Orchard fruits are revealed in the development – reduced and liberally dusted with dark sugars. Polished oak pushes through reflecting the age of the liquid, whilst chocolate-covered ginger pieces and a twist of pepper at a peppy, uplifting bite. As with the nose – the bottling strength here is well judged – and attempts to experiment proved to be a mistake, offering no enhancement, but rather a far muddier, less expressive composition.
Finish: Long. Still holding on rather vegetal fresh sherry with residue peppery char along for the ride until the very end.
This Arran 1996 24 year old TWE Exclusive hints at profound sherry through its nose, only to considerably lighten the affair with a palate that combines the trademark Arran spice with an assortment of juicy and leafy fruits. And that all works a treat as-is. Which is a good thing, as the bottling strength of 49.5% seems to be the lowest ABV where the liquid really shines at its best. Overall, I think I might just prefer last month’s wine cask edition. <shudder> There must be something in the water?!
Review sample provided by The Whisky Exchange.