...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Arran 20 year old 1998, cask 82, 20th Anniversary Trilogy for Japan

(Arran mini-cluster homepage)

After last week's trio of single casks for the US, this week brings a pair of single casks released for other countries. Both are sherry casks and have at least two decades on them. 

First up is a release that I had to look up. Apparently Arran released three casks in Japan celebrating some sort of twentieth anniversary. Since the distillery's production hit its 20th birthday in 2015, I'm guessing 2018 marked twenty years of legal Arran single malt, and possibly 20 years of Arran single malt in Japan. Today's cask was the first release, a sherry puncheon. The second bottling was a sherry hoggie, and the third was a bourbon barrel, each release having a smaller outturn than the previous.

Six years ago I tried a solid 21yo Arran single sherry cask celebrating a different 20th anniversary at the late Shot Bar South Park. Any excuse to bottle a single cask is okay with me.

Distillery: Lochranza (the distillery formerly known as Arran)
Ownership: Isle of Arran Distillers
Range: 20th Anniversary Trilogy
Age: 20 years (3 Feb 1998 - 7 Feb 2018)
Maturation: sherry puncheon
Cask #: 82
Outturn: 479 bottles
Exclusive to: Japan
Alcohol by Volume: 52.3%
(from a bottle split)


The nose starts off with brown sugar, dried currants, shortbread biscuits, and toasted pecans. Candied orange peels and a hint of barley paint the corners. It takes on more orange oil with time. The palate starts off very fruity (plums and nectarines) and lightly oaky with dried herbs in the background. But peppery tannins start to take over quickly, with some concrete and tart lime notes in the background. It finishes with tart fruits, mild tannins, and a hint of iron.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or ¾ oz of water per 30mL whisky

Oh not great. Woody woodiness on the nose, with a side of wood. Also vanilla and barrel char. Some notes of ocean, mint, cherries, and flowers decorate the background. Flowers and burnt oak on the palate. It's almost smoky. Some oatmeal cookies. It gets really sweet. It finishes tart, with bitter oak and barrel char.


Just like last week's casks, this one does not take to water well. In fact, dilution ruins it. So keep this one neat. It doesn't need a shower. I bet this cask was gorgeous a couple years before it was dumped into bottles, but here it is at 20, feeling older than its age, and not in a glamorous way. (It's a bad sign when I can relate to a cask.) Sadly, I don't have samples of the other two anniversary bottlings, but it was fun to have one!

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 84 (neat, 10 points lower when diluted)

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