...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Arran 24 year old 1996, cask 1996/904 for Nickolls & Perks

(Arran mini-cluster homepage)

This cluster's quintet of Arran single casks ends with the oldie of the group, a 24-year-old bottled for the Nickolls & Perks shop. The single first-fill Oloroso hoggie offers the sort of color that makes certain whisky fans lose their wallets. For the past decade, my fave whisky color has been five-beer-piss, though whiskies of that hue are entirely different fluids than this sort of coffee-colored stuff. But, my mind is freed, so here it goes...

Distillery: Lochranza (the distillery formerly known as Arran)
Ownership: Isle of Arran Distillers
Range: Premium Cask
Age: 24 years (5 Aug 1996 - 10 June 2021)
Maturation: first-fill Oloroso hogshead
Cask #: 1996/904
Outturn: 277 bottles
Exclusive to: Nickolls & Perks
Alcohol by Volume: 49.3%
(from a bottle split)


Huge nose here. Figs, molasses, almond butter, and apricot jam. Fresh raspberries and dried cherries. Then beef stock and a hint of dashi?

The thick palate arrives with a much less tannic edge than Monday's 20yo cask. Very dark chocolate, mint leaf, and eucalyptus fill the fore, with pipe tobacco and milky coffee in the middle, and tart limes and Serrano chiles in the background.

The tobacco gets smokier in the finish, mixing with milk chocolate, sweet citrus, Serranos, and a whiff of metal.


Of course, the figs won me over at the start, but the lack of harsh, bitter oak kept me around for more. It's the sort of cask-driven winesky (yes, if port casks can produce wineskies, so can sherry casks) with which I can get on board. This is also one of the only members of this mini cluster with a palate nearly as vibrant as the nose.

This cask does get the disclaimer — one that's becoming more and more prevalent — that its whisky could have been from any one of scores of distilleries around the world. There's nothing about this drink that says Arran, or even Scotland. Just good carpentry here, with no beams nor seams exposed.

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 88