Arran Amarone Cask

Arran Amarone 1It should be no surprise to our frequent readers that we’ve tried our fair share of whiskies with different finishes. Finishing allows distilleries to impart a different set of flavors through aging the spirit, usually for the last year or two, in casks other than the usual ex-bourbon barrels. We’ve tried finishes with Sherry, Port, Rum, along with Shiraz, Madeira and Burgundy wines so far. We have a Scotch with Cote du Rhone and Clos de Tart on the docket. Heck, the last Arran we reviewed had a Sauternes finish. Therefore, it may not surprise anyone greatly for us to be interested by this Arran aged in Amarone casks. We came by it honestly, though, through a tasting at Ace Spirit’s. The fact that it stood out over several other whiskies should be enough to pique your interest, as it did ours.

Distillery: Arran
Region: Islands
Age: NAS
Strength: 50%
Price: $78.99
Maturation: Amarone Casks
Location: Lochranza
Nose: Cherry, blackberry, pear, smoke, saccharine
Palate: Pear, Twizzler, cinnamon
Finish: Cinnamon, milk chocolate, mint

Comments: Water is definitely needed to open up. Otherwise, flavors are too compact and buried under the alcohol. 

ArranAmaroneYodaAdam – I enjoy sipping this without water, at least at first. There’s a great deal of sweetness and spice wedged in here, all accompanying a warm, oily mouth feel. A special mention to the color, darker and vibrant than most other whiskies I’ve seen and derived from the finish. With a little water, this dram opens up in a very pleasing way. This is a vacation for your mouth. Great mixtures of sugar and spice and everything nice, with a little heat and slick oil that will carry you from the afternoon beach to the nightclub. A good balance too, as none of the flavors we talk about dominates, meaning you get a touch here and there. Don’t focus on partying all night, though. This is definitely one you’ll want to bring home with you. Indulge yourself.

Meghan – I am always intrigued by a different cask finish so this one was on my radar. Then, we lucked out that it was at a tasting so I got to sample before purchasing. The color is just beautiful. The nose is very clean and warm. We found a lot of fruit in the nose but it isn’t overbearing like fruit punch. Although I may be getting influenced by the box but this one just tastes purple to me; not an artificial grape purple but a nice plum color. The mint and hint of chocolate on the back palate and finish add a very refreshing quality. It would work well both as an aperitif and as an after-dinner dram. 

Jenny – I was really getting the minty, woody notes after I added water. It made me think of hiking through a forest. Refreshing.

Michael – Simply put, it was dessert-y. I’m getting this piney, spruce-y, woodsy taste. It’s something I really enjoy, like an aroma I’d get on a hike.

Henry – Complex and layered nose – raisin, honeysuckle, dark honey, yielding to peaty undertones. Adding water brings the peat to the fore quickly followed by menthol and butyric acid, finally resolving to a nose vaguely reminiscent of cheap dried cat food. Meow. Sadly, the promise of the Amarone nose does not follow through on the palate, leaving peat, a trace of smoke, and a tingle on the tongue behind. What happened here? Meow?

Ben – You know those flannel things you throw in the microwave, full of spice and potpourri that you drape around your neck? That’s what this is for me. A spicy warmth around your neck.

Dayna – [Notes are from nose only] I’m getting some kind of garden, more like a big field, with lots of plum.