Arran are still one of my favourite distilleries. It’s a modern, excellent distillery growing up in a time where whisky is flourishing. And they’re hitting it just right.
Nose - Lush, wooded, sweet and fruity - juicy pears, pear drops, dense, high quality oak. Ripe, bright, elegant and waxed. It’s very rich, smooth, chocolaty, fruity and a little spicy and waxy. It’s very Arran and very good. With water the chocolate box fruit comes to the fore and the feel is more sweeties than spice and oak, but there’s still balance.
Body - Rich milk chocolate, spicy wood and deep malty sweetness, with smarties, more pear drops and a biscuity, toasted backing. The slight astringency on the side of the palate makes it oddly refreshing.
Finish - Medium to long, ripe, smooth. Final notes are of structure and wood bitterness but this balances some of that sweetness. It’s very good. With water, the astringency becomes unbalanced. I wouldn’t recommend diluting this.
What's not good about it: The bitter end of the finish is a small fault, but remember this is only a 17 year old.
What’s good about it: It’s deep, lush, ripe, chocolaty and very smooth. There’s loads of malt, loads of structure, but it’s decadent and delicious. I love the pure Arran character in here, and what’s most important is that it’s evident that Arran really is maturing into the classic malt we all know it will be.
Compared to the 14 year old (which I love) the nose on the 14 is more obviously waxily fruited (and on first blush, it’s a more expensive nose), and it’s more floral and perfumed. But the 14 has less depth, and the delivery isn’t in the same league as the 17 (and there’s no chocolate).
We’re living through Arran’s teenage years and journey into adulthood, and it’s going really well. Big hopes for the 21 year old. See you next year for the 18!
Thanks to Arran Distillery for the official sample.