...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Arran 10 year old 2007 James MacTaggart

In 2017, the Arran distillery celebrated 10 years since James MacTaggart became their master distiller. The very day he took the job, in 2007, the owners boinked him on the head, fermented and distilled him, finally pouring his spirit into about 60 first-fill bourbon barrels (he was a large man). After ten years, the barrels started to smell funny so James was poured into 12,000 bottles and distributed to retailers. I chose not to buy a bottle of James because that's disgusting. Spending money, I mean.

Okay, so I did splurge on a 2oz sample
Distillery: Isle of Arran Distillery
Type: Single Malt
Ownership: Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd.
Region: Isle of Arran, Scotland
Age: minimum 10 years (2007-2017)
Maturation: first-fill ex-bourbon barrels
Outturn: 12,000 (limited!)
Alcohol by Volume: 54.2%
Chillfiltered? No
Colored? No

The nose leads with a load of fruits, specifically cantaloupe, lemon and white nectarines. A sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar. A dusting of cocoa. Give it 15 minutes... Menthol, cucumber water, canned Mandarin oranges and circus peanuts. The palate holds the citrus, while picking up vanilla bean. Both a mild burn and a chile pepper zing. Malty, while a bit of salt. A lemon note drifts to grapefruit, and back. Maybe a little bit of toasted coconut. The medium warm finish has malt, vanilla, Rolos and circus peanuts.

DILUTED TO ~46%ABV, or 1tbl water per 30mL whisky
The nose is dumbed down. Less fruit, a more generic vanilla. Lemon, cinnamon, caramel. Hints of mint and malt. The palate has a good texture. It's malty and lemony, sweeter. Very tangy. Moments of vanilla and bitterness. Still some heat in the finish. It's tangy and sweet. A little bit of grain and tannins.

Don't dilute James. He's best at full strength. The complexity in his nose is impressive after only 10 years. And I'm a fool for all that fruit. The palate is decent, while the finish is unremarkable. So he does the Nose > Palate > Finish slide. While the first-fill barrels are present, they don't budge their way forward until water is added.

James did well. He turned out to be a €700,000+ release for Arran. Well done, sir. Who's next?

Availability - UK and Continental Europe, and a tiny bit in the US
Pricing - $65-$85 (ex-VAT) in Europe, more expensive in the UK. About $100 in The States.
Rating - 85


  1. So I take it James smells good then.

  2. I always wanted to try one of those Bruichladdich Laddie Crew Valinch releases that are each named after a specific employee, but now the general drift of this post has me a bit concerned...