...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Arran 22 year old 1996 Old and Wise

On March 1st, after my regrettable full February of Glenfiddich 12, I wanted to drink something remarkable. As I window-shopped my favored online whisky shops, I began to wonder if I could afford "remarkable". Gradually a conclusion was formed. While I may be able to afford "remarkable", blindly buying countless three-figure-priced whiskies in the search for "remarkable" was a poor idea.

Even better, I have a heavily curated, but expansive, whisky stash that has a respectable remarkable-to-acceptable ratio. And that made me happy.

But I did buy a few samples of whiskies that looked mighty fine, in the hopes of finding a real gem. This twenty-two year-old Arran is one of those samples. I put my feet up on a lovely evening and tried the first half of the sample without notes. The second ounce of the sample was saved for today's review.

Distillery: Isle of Arran
Ownership: Isle of Arran Distillers
Age: 22 years (7 Feb 1996 - 5 July 2018)
Maturation: sherry hogshead
Cask number: 055
Outturn: 305
Alcohol by Volume: 50.9%
Chillfiltered? No
Caramel Colorant? No
(from a purchased sample)

The very pretty but very quiet nose leads with nutty sherry, apricots, plums and orange peels. Then Sprite, creamsicles, citronella and a candy shop note. It's lightly floral, with a slight oakiness. The palate is also fruity and soft, without ever being too sweet. Fresh stone and citrus fruits (more citrus with time). A bite of mango, hints of vanilla and flower kiss candy. A dose of oak spice and toasty notes, like nuts and coconut. The finish is the least woody part. No drying tannins, plenty of the palate's fruit notes (citrus, stone and mango) and a gently floral+sweet note reminiscent of Junmai Ginjo sake.

"Old and Wise"? I don't know. "Fruity and Fragile"? Yeah. And that's not a bad thing. Not every whisky has to be "Sturm und Drang". This is a pretty whisky, and possibly as light as 51% alcohol can be, which is why I didn't add water. One can appreciate its restrained measures of sherry and oak. I'm not prepared to part with $150+ to bring a whole bottle home, but it was a quiet pleasure and now it's time to move on.

Availability - A couple dozen European retailers
Pricing - Europe: €140-€160 w/VAT
Rating - 88

No comments:

Post a Comment