I feel blessed that I have been able to follow the progress of one of Scotland’s most dynamic and forward-thinking distilleries through the years. The Isle of Arran Distillers has evolved into a distillery whose whiskies stand tall with the best that Scotland has to offer. The distillery was founded in 1993, with their first whisky released 3 years later. However it was much later (2007, to be exact) that things really took off for Arran, when they were named as Whisky Magazine’s Distiller of the Year. Since then they have gone from strength to strength with numerous award-winning and acclaimed releases, including Vine & Table’s two single cask offerings that we hand-selected at the distillery.
Their oldest release to date, Arran Single Malt 18 year old is a spectacular coming of age for the distillery and clearly shows off the talents of James MacTaggart, Master Distiller. It’s an utterly delicious dram, and one that I feel perfectly showcases the particular style for which Arran is known for. Think elegant, floral, perfectly balanced with not a trace of peat smoke in sight and you will get an idea of it. The color is pale gold. On the nose I get the feeling of walking into a garden full of summer flowers, bright and elegant, with notes of orange marmalade and light traces of sherried oak. The entry is soft and gentle, mouth-coating and rounded. Vanilla, chewy nougat, orange cream puffs, white pepper and fresh buttered toast are all there, which leads into a lingering soft finish.
Only 9,000 bottles were released worldwide (just 60 bottles were allocated to the Indiana market) and I expect that fans of Arran (we have quite a few!) will want to seek this whisky out. If you are not familiar with the Arran Distillery then there is really no better time!