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Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Arran 16 year old 1997, cask 217 for the USA

In this cluster's intro I stated my preference for Arran single malt between 10 and 14 years of age, but their single casks can flourish beyond that window. Monday's cask, a 14 year old, will be the youngest of the five casks I'm reviewing for the cluster.

Today's 16 year old cask was part of the "Premium Cask Selection" series that seems to still be chugging along. Cask 217 was part of the 2014 Spring batch of "Premium" casks bottled for the US. Like the other four casks from this cluster, it has a reasonable ABV. In fact, I don't think I've had a single Arran cask that was above 57%, and most are under 55%, which may be why they arrive so comfortably into my system. Anyway, an almost-17-year-old....

Distillery: Lochranza (the distillery formerly known as Arran)
Ownership: Isle of Arran Distillers
Range: Premium Cask Selection
Age: 16 years (17 Feb 1997 - 5 Feb 2014)
Maturation: sherry butt
Cask #: 217
Outturn: 562 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 53.2%
(from a bottle split)


A fun nose! Dark chocolate, red Twizzlers, and peaches up front. Almond extract and black walnuts in the middle. Jute and dried apple in the back. The palate starts sweet and tangy (oranges and guavas) with moderate notes of iron and fresh ginger underneath. After 40+ minutes it's all guava and honey. It finishes with oranges, iron, and toasted salted almonds. Extra tart grapefruits appear in later sips.

DILUTED to ~46%abv or < 1 tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Another one that changes form with moderate dilution. The nose is all honey, marzipan, dried apples, and black raisins. Like Monday's cask, this one gets MUCH oakier on the palate when at 46%abv. Sweet, tannic, peppery, and very almond-y. Just marzipan and black pepper on the finish.


Water brings out too much aggressive oak again so, like its Taste Off partner, the 14yo 2002, this one works much better at full strength, where it's more complex and delicious. Even the metallic note works with the fruit. But nose wins (again) by a significant margin; had the palate matched it, this could have been a 90-pointer. Whiskybase is bereft of notes and ratings for this one. Has anyone else tried it?

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - I don't think it was much more than $100 in 2014.
Rating - 87 (neat)

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