“We are one of only a handful of distilleries that use bere barley as it is notoriously difficult to grow,” commented Euan Mitchell, managing director of Isle of Arran Distillers. “However, for those who can persevere, it can produce an outstanding malt, as is the case with this highly-anticipated new release.”
This is the second release of Arran’s malt made with this tough strain of barley.
Nose – Sweet granite, cherry lipsalve, ozone, deeply malty, enormously earthy – like digging in summer soil with your hands. Cut summer grass, sunshine. What an inopportune time to release this, and what an absolutely fabulous, sweet and dry nose. With water, the mineral note becomes even more pronounced, and drops a touch of the soil and – this is going to sound odd – is like a baby’s breath. Sweet with calpol, unsullied with food between teeth, a little lactic and very clean.
Body – Like gunpowder neat, right up the nose with party poppers, sweet toffee apple and burning wood. Incredibly Autumnal. How strange! With water, more peppery and spicy in the side of the mouth.
Finish – Long, appley and more bonfire night burnt wood and toffee apple. A lingering, delicious, fiery edge. It’s a very long finish with water or without and the final notes are of wood – structural, lightly tropical, and very fine.
What’s not good about it – This isn’t a typical Arran by a long stretch. If this is the effect of the strain of barley, it’s very pronounced. Do not buy this expecting citrus toffee and other wonderful Arran tones.
What’s good about it – Fascinating, balanced, intense, earthy, seasonal, and cask strength. This is an epic release that would have passed me by if I hadn’t had the sample. It’s an instant buy. Arran are going places.
Thanks to Arran for the sample!