(Lot 20 08 19)
APPEARANCE: Between dark copper and medium brown colour.
NOSE: Initially sherry and wood notes, mint and some dried fruits and noticeable oak notes. With some air; dry, baked oak, sawdust, some alcohol, all overpowering the sherry. With more air the sherry cask reappears; vanilla, some dried fruits (quite dry impression), then molasses and some honey. Later dark treacle and dark honey. Dark chocolate. (86-87p) With a few drops of water it feels less oaky, more sherried and slighty older. After my third addition of a few drops it really starts to come around on the nose; oranges, lemons, dried orange rind, fortified sweet wine, some fruit cake, pine needles, mint. (87-88p)
TASTE: The arrival is mainly sherried (on rather dry, dried fruits) but also a bit woody and a bit nippy. On the mid palate a mix of wood / oak sawdust and dried fruits, with a little sweetness towards the end. (85p) With a few drops of water more of the sherry notes come forward. With another few drops, the whisky becomes sweeter, more sherry, less oak. Even better after my third addition of a few drops. Also sweeter. (86p)
FINISH: The finish is peppery, woody and slightly sweet. (84p) With quite a bit of water the finish becomes more civilised, rounder, less woody/peppery, softer. (85p)
OVERALL: Straight after the initial uncorking and undiluted, this presents itself as a quite intensely oaked and sherried, relatively young (5-8 years?) whisky. What it doesn’t do is reveal much of its Arran distillate/origins, although (hard) dilution brings some of it into the light. Several drops of water makes the expression older, more sherried and “smoother”. TOTAL SCORE (for now) 86 points.
I will let this breathe and re-review later, in some 4-12 months time.