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Friday, July 14, 2023

Arran 18 year old (current label)

(Arran mini-cluster homepage)

I tried Arran's original 18 year old when it first arrived on our shores, eight years ago, and it was too tannic for my palate. Not once in the years since did I consider trying the Arran 18 again until the Doctors Springbank gifted me a sample of the current edition in 2022. The whisky is still entirely or mostly assembled from sherry casks, and the color is quite dark. I've matched it up with a younger Arran sparring partner tonight (which I'll get to later in the cluster).

pic from
the official site
Distillery: Lochranza (the distillery formerly known as Arran)
Ownership: Isle of Arran Distillers
Age: at least 18 years
Maturation: sherry casks (per the official site)
Bottled: ca. 2020
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chillfiltered? No
e150a? No
(thanks to Doctors Springbank for the sample!)


Dark chocolate, raw almonds, and raw walnuts form most of the nose, with smaller notes of lime juice, applesauce, and mint candy decorating the background. It gains brighter orange notes after 30+ minutes in the glass. A few drops of water work wonders again, bringing out dates, nectarines, and dried blueberries. The almonds get toastier, and some mustier cask notes appear.

A uniquely bold grape juice note shows up first in the palate, followed by carob, salt, and raw nuts (brazil and almonds). Just a little bit of sweetness floats beneath. That dash of water makes it saltier and more chocolatey while also better integrating all the notes.

The grape juice turns to red zinfandel in the finish, while carob, walnuts, and anise move to the foreground. Adding water brings out dried herbs, dried currants, lemon, and salt.


This is much better than the original 18, if my old notes are reliable. And it's yet another Arran that improves with a tiny bit of dilution. Perhaps Arran's sherry cask management has improved over the years, or this was just a good batch. I hope it's the former! The whisky's prices are considerably different between the US and Europe. I'd consider getting a bottle at the European price, but not at the American rate.

Availability - Europe and USA
Pricing - Europe: $90-$125 (pre-VAT); USA: $160-$240
Rating - 86 (with water)

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