Arran has released nearly a dozen Amarone Wine Cask whiskies over the years. This 2007 example is one of, if not their first. The whisky was matured in ex-bourbon casks before being re-racked into Amarone (which is a blend of Corvina, Molinara and Rodinella grapes) for a finishing period. We reviewed the 2017 Arran Amarone last year – let’s see if this example from 10 years earlier (with a slightly higher ABV of 55% as opposed to 50%) is just as successful.
Nose: Pronounced orange – peels, juice and liqueur (Cointreau) – all quite fresh and inviting. These sit alongside patisserie in the form of scones, buns and honey-drizzled cake. In the background, some floral/herbalness – potpourri and rosehips (interesting and not at odds with the other aromas). Finally, touches of cask spice – ginger and pink peppercorns. Water enhances the floral aromas further – Turkish Delight and dried pressed flowers.
Taste: A very pleasant sweet and syrupy arrival of oranges (again) and red fruits. In the mid-palate, toffee, fudge and chocolate cake alongside tanned leather and a hint of balsamic. Spicing is kept in check – peppercorns again, but now with pinch of salt. Throughout the mouth there’s a lovely wash of nuttiness – walnuts – they cleverly bind all the other flavours together into a coherent whole. The addition of water enhances this nuttiness even further, and brings out some of the natural earthiness of the Arran spirit.
Finish: Quite long with chocolate, caramel and figs.
This Amarone finished Arran demonstrates when happens when you successfully integrate wine with whisky – the result is a well-balanced, well-judged, and importantly tasty dram with every element feeling like it’s in the right place. Sweetness, bitterness and spice all playing from the same hymn sheet. Good stuff.