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Monday, July 17, 2023

Arran 14 year old 2002, private cask 2002/587

While many producers dabble in official single cask releases, Lochranza-based Arran is one of the few distilleries that has truly committed to it. Some of these were private cask purchases that brought the distillers some early revenue, while others have been for individual retailers and bars around the world, and yet more casks have been rolled out for festivals. After two decades, Arran's total single cask count numbers somewhere between 2000 and 3000, but it's difficult to be sure because some private casks, like today's, haven't made it into a public database like Whiskybase.

I've had the pleasure of try about a dozen of these official single casks, have never had a bad one, and enjoyed all of them on some level, so I've been looking forward these next five reviews! First up, a sherry hoggie that was purchased privately by an American gentleman. Sadly, it wasn't me. 😢

Distillery: Lochranza (the distillery formerly known as Arran)
Ownership: Isle of Arran Distillers
Age: 14 years (7 Aug 2002 - 23 Aug 2016)
Maturation: sherry hogshead
Cask #: 2002/587
Bottle: 149/267
Alcohol by Volume: 54.8%
(Thanks to Secret Agent Man for the sample!)


The nose begins with a mysterious musty old dunnage note which gradually wafts away, revealing passionfruit candy, apple peels, and almond extract. Subtler notes of oats, golden raisins, and saline linger in the back. The palate is super toasty, with layers of toasted oak and toasted nut notes. Serrano chiles, fresh ginger, and clementines give it a sweet zing. A quiet earthy note develops with time. It finishes sweeter with pineapple, oranges, and golden raisins, along with a touch of Serrano heat.

DILUTED to ~46%abv, or < 1¼ tsp of water per 30mL whisky

Hmmm, tomato leaf and dried basil appear in the nose now. Golden raisins, dried cherries, and saline fill the background. The palate is much oakier and sweeter, all toasty oak spice and sugary dried berries. It finishes sweet and oaky as well, almost bourbony.


Though I realize it's kinda pointless to publicly review a private cask, one can say the same about most whisky reviews! I LOVE the nose on this whisky, like the palate, and prefer it all when neat. American whiskey fans (including the fellow who owned the cask) may prefer it diluted because, as per my notes, it starts moving into sweet bourbon territory once water is added. The fun sherry hoggie presents anything but generic notes. A good pick!

Availability - Private cask
Pricing - ???
Rating - 86 (neat)

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