24 drams till christmas 2016 #4: Arran 1996-2013 17 yo Bourbon cask #547

Arran 1996-2013 17 yo Bourbon cask #547Dram data:
Distillery: Arran
Bottler: official bottling
Distilled: 17.06.1996
Bottled: 10.09.2013
Age: 17 years
Limitation: 202 bottles
Cask: Ex-Bourbon (barrel?)
Alcohol: 52.4%
unchillfiltered and uncoloured
Whiskybase link

One thing I like about the Arran distillery is their twice-yearly release of official single cask bottlings at very affordable prices. This is one of them – from a few years back. What intrigued me to buy it back then was the extremely dark colour for an ex-bourbon whisky…

Tasting notes:
Colour: amber
The nose is perhaps not the most typical Arran profile, thanks to the “freak cask”, but it’s certainly a good one! Right off the start we’ve got a light citrus on caramel and almost smoky toasted chocolate-covered toffee with creme brulee (now that’s a first for me, don’t beat me up about the spelling, please!). There are also tropical fruits – dried mango and papaya with lychees but also apricots and physalis. A hint of oak and slight cask spices in the background. Light-ish, as is the Arran style, but sophisticated and fruity, very nice! On to the palate!Surprisingly dry on the arrival, mouth-coating and -watering with loads going on. Nice alcoholic kick too after a few seconds. The dried tropical fruits are back, so are toasted caramel, slight spices and a hint of oak. They are accompanied by new flavours – dark chocolate, palm honey and a noticeable drying, sort of grassy component which I personally don’t find detrimental, bit it might not be for everybody. With water: same general profile, but it loses a bit. Best enjoyed neat or with only a few drops. This baby is certainly alive and kicking after 17 years! The medium-long finish has an alcoholic kick upon swallowing, accompanied by the same dryness we’ve had on the palate, followed by dried tropical fruits with fruit sweetness, cask spices and a growing oak note towards the end.

Oh, this one is fun! I love how Arran are not afraid to also bottle “odd” casks in their single cask range, showing off the full extent of how different casks can influence the spirit. Could you imagine one of the big corporate distilleries releasing something like that? Well, with only 202 bottles having been released (perhaps a barrel?) chances are slim you’ll still find one of these on the shelves, but look out for the next round of single cask releases – they’re out in spring and autumn!

Score: 85/100
(Nose: 86 Palate: 85 Finish: 85)

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