...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Arran 8 year old 1998 G&M Connoisseur's Choice

I bought this bottle three years ago. And I'm at a loss to find any more to that story.

Even though I split this bottle's contents with some whisky friends, it's still taking me FOREVER to finish the stuff. I don't remember why. How about let's find out?

Oh, one more thing...  For those who think G&M didn't start bottling some of the Connoisseur's Choice series at 46%abv until a few years ago, may I point to this Arran 8yo and this 36yo Caperdonich from 1968 (yes, the two are easily confused) as examples of G&M going bonkers and leaving an extra three points of alcohol in the whisky.

Distillery: Isle of Arran Distillery
Ownership: Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd.
Region: Isle of Arran, Scotland
Independent Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Range: Connoisseurs Choice
Age: 8 years old (1998-2007)
Maturation: ???
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
(review sample taken from the bottom third of my bottle)

The nose is very spirity with a funky edge. Like moldy cardboard box. Wort, yeast. Sugary bits. Fresh lemons and green apples. Pecans. Slightly farmy. The palate is very malty with a light hum of oak underneath. An odd bitterness down there too. Lemony soap. Peppery, but also very sweet. It finishes bitter, warm, peppery and sweet. Decent length to it.

DILUTED TO ~40%abv, or < 1tsp water per 30mL whisky
Quite a shift in the nose. Apples, flowers, orange candy and eucalyptus. It's become a better drinker too. The palate ditches the bitterness, and mellows the sweetness. Grain-forward. Pilsner? Hints of coffee and aromatic fruits. The finish is pleasant but plain. Shorter, lightly tart.

I've gone through three separate tastings of this whisky for this review, and the notes have been pretty consistent. The first tasting was done without dilution, and I was left wondering why G&M bottled it. Then I remembered the limp Ledaig I reviewed two weeks ago, and wondered why they bottled that one too. Then I wondered, what does G&M do with their lesser casks? Do they swap them with blenders? Or is the Connoisseur's Choice label their final destination?

But then I tinkered with dilution in the next two tastings. Water really made a difference. It's a better drink at 40%abv. It's not awesome, it still feels very young, and it's not on the same planet as the official 10 year old, but it's a decent casual sipper. In fact I'm finishing the bottle's final pour right now, sub-40abv, and it works.

Availability - ???
Pricing - I bought it for $39.99, which is probably why I bought it
Rating - 80 (diluted only)

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