KWM Advent 2018 Day 7 – Arran 10 Year

by Andrew

Image courtesy of @frombarreltobottle

It would probably surprise many to know that Arran whisky outsells the World’s THREE bestselling single malts, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and Macallan, in our shop… combined!!! There are good reasons for this. Firstly, Arran offers amazing value. Whether it is this 10 year old ($60), the 14 Year ($80) or the 18 year ($120), Arran offers almost unrivalled value when it comes to their single malts, and not by cutting corners. We love the fact that they bottle at 46%, which as we all know is the new 40 after all. The reason the whiskies are so good comes down to a slow, careful distillation and the use of only the finest oak barrels.

It is hard to believe that the Arran distillery is now 23 years young. I still remember the early years, well before they launched their first official 10-year-old when the whisky was all no-age-statement offerings. They did some interesting things back then including single cask, cask strength whiskies finished in all kinds of oak from Lepanto Brandy and Rum to Trebiano D’Abruzzo, Champagne and Calvados casks. That last one got them a rap on the knuckles from the thugs at the Scotch Whisky Association. That particular bully of a Big brother is always watching…

Isle of Arran Distillery

Nearly 24 years on Arran, is going from strength to strength. Just this week they announced a new edition to their core range, the Arran 21 Year. It goes without saying that we can’t wait to try it and neither can our customers. But there were tough times along the way. There were many times in the early years that the firm nearly went under from cash flow woes, a common concern in the opening of any new distillery. But the hard work, blood, sweat and tears have all paid off.

The owners of Arran are also doubling down on their production on the island they named their first distillery for. A year after doubling the capacity at Arran, in the scenic town of Lochranza on the north of the Isle of Arran, Isle of Arran Distillers began construction of a new distillery at Lagg, at the South end of the island. After over a year of construction and a number of unforeseen delays, the Lagg Distillery is nearly complete, and set to open late this year or early next. The plan as we understand it is to focus on peated whisky at the new distillery once it is up and running.

One other notable thing about Arran, we have bottle more single casks of Arran than any other distillery. I’ve lost count of the actual number, but the two we have in stock now, the Arran 1996 KWM Cask 559 21 Year, and Arran 1996 KWM Cask 56 22 Year, are by our best count our 13th and 14th Arran exclusive casks. These two malts, the oldest Arrans ever to come to Canada, are both lovely malts and open for sampling in-store!

As for the Arran 10 year, the oak type is not specified, but it is likely predominantly ex-Bourbon, with a dash of sherry. You will see more sherry cask influence as you move up the range in age statements! The reason we selected this malt to feature in the Calendar is twofold. Firstly, because they haven’t yet done bottlings of the 18 year in 50ml format. But secondly, and more crucially, but this whisky is a staple.

Arran 10 Year – 46% -

Andrew’s Tasting Note

Nose: butterscotch pudding and vanilla bean icing; earl grey crème brule and juicy malt; lots of honey and candied citrus tones with a faint gravelly minerality.

Palate: classic Arran, honeyed, malty and floral with loads of citrus; this malt never disappoints with lovely oils, loads of vanilla, butterscotch and dried apricots; more grassy tones and faint minerality.

Finish: medium-long but lovely; malty, honeyed and floral with more citrus and vanilla.

Comment: this is such a pleasing malt for its age and quality; if this was the baseline single malt available anywhere, anytime, one would never be disheartened! – $60

Playing catch-up on our 2018 Kensington Wine Market Whisky Advent Calendar?

You can find the rest of the blog posts here!

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