A relatively short finishing period for this 2009 Arran – just 6 months in wine casks from Pomerol in Bordeaux. The particular casks utilised here are from Chateau La Conseillante – a famous estate that can trace its roots back to 1735. Given this, it’s likely that the wine was probably a blend of 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Malbec, as is standard for this producer.
Nose: Orchard fruits, stone fruits and minerals. Opening with apple turnovers and apricot flans – both served with vanilla custard - this has a real sense of flintiness about it – graphite and coal dust. Deeper, there’s black fruit – blackberries and blackcurrants – as well as some wet soil earthiness. The addition of water brings out toffee, but also a touch of farmyard – sties, wet hay and wet wall mustiness.
Taste: A fairly viscous arrival that delivers fresh red apples, cinnamon apples, and a medley of apricot and peaches in juice. In the mid-palate, a sense of baked fresh pastries, but also an increasingly sour cask influence – pepper and tart balsamic. Water heightens the apple flavours with crumble and scrumpy cider – it also adds a touch of chocolate and nuttiness.
Finish: Medium with tart apple and prickling pepper.
This Arran has developed some big fruity character that proves quite intriguing on the nose with sharp minerality. The palate is more middle of the road, delivering good texture, but, as is the case with many wine influenced whiskies – a little too much cask influence resulting in either sourness or bitterness or in some cases both. Perfectly fine, but not worth going out of your way for.
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