Arran 14yo. OB. 70cl. 46%. 2010.
Colour: light gold
Nose: immediately there is lots of honey and some classic vanilla, bourbony fudge notes. This malt is starting to show some delicate signs of age, very noticeable in comparison to earlier standard bottlings. The vatting is mainly fresh bourbon barrels with some refill wood and a small proportion of sherry and the bourbon dominance really shows here. However the good news is that there are no signs of overt wood technology at play, there is a lot of sweetness and bourbon character but it is clean and honest wood that speaks. No funny business thankfully. After a minute or so some notes of damp sackcloth and dunnage appear, these seem to be very common aromas in Arran. Lots of fresh pear fruit and something slightly varnishy and resinous at the back. Its not globally very complex but like many Arrans it has no obvious flaws and is quite pretty and charming in an unassuming way.
Palate: Some sawdust at first then baked apples and custard with freshly grated nutmeg. Some hints of morello cherries, olive oil and quite a lean saltiness, almost like a sliver of pancetta. More honey and vanilla, quite concise with the nose. Towards the swallow there is a little minerality and something slightly drying, it even displays a delicate waxiness, still quite polished.
Finish: Returns to the sawdust of the palate and has some granite like earthiness as well. The finish fades very nicely, good length.
Comments: Its quite a nicely composed malt I think. It has all the Arran hallmarks of freshness and delicate island character but I still really wish they wouldnÂ’t rely so heavily on first fill bourbon, it just ends up tasting a bit too modern for my liking. Anyway its a worthy addition to the range and its always worth remembering what an epic amount of effort that is involved in nurturing a spirit to this kind of age from scratch. Well done Arran!