Bottling date 14/10/2022
A new review on a bottle I’ve written about before, but this time it’s the latest vatting of Arran’s 18yr core range bottle. This one was released in late 2022 after a long hiatus and wait for the previous version.
As I mentioned in my other review, Arran’s 18yr is a bit of a sherry stealth that seems to fly under the radar. Their core range is fantastic – from the “I really wasn’t expecting that” 10yr old to the “Can I pour this over ice cream” Port Cask Finish - Arran is a stunning and sometimes overlooked distillery. That’s why I chose Arran as my third group bottling for the SherryBomb Facebook group that I run, and was dubbed as "Deployment 3"
Appearance: Medium amber with flecks of gold. Thin & slow oily legs
Nose: Fruit-forward with a hint of oak. Old fashioned cloudy apple juice, bread dough, lots of vanilla, cherry jam, and Highland Toffee. There’s also piecrust and a something I haven’t smelled for a long time – traditional bread pudding. It finishes up with notes of flat cola. The overall nose of this new Arran 18yr is fragrant & clean with more floral & vanilla notes than the previous batch.
Palate: Oily-sweetness followed by notes of toffee and roasted nuts. There’s a very faint note of ripe banana as well. Whilst there is a sherry influence on this version, it’s a lot lighter & delicate with clear signs of vanilla, that to me, indicate a higher percentage of Bourbon casks used(?) Soft and gentle peppery sweetness linger on the tongue.
Finish: Medium-long with a clean, vibrant and fruity body.
Conclusion: It’s a very different release to the previous 18yr from a couple of years ago (batch date 28/08/20 - my review here), both in appearance and taste. However, it’s still extremely flavoursome and enjoyable. I wonder if there is/was a shortage of sherry casks to use in this vatting, as it really feels like a very different whisky and I’m guessing the greater influence of vanilla & lighter fruit is a result of a higher percentage of Bourbon casks being used.
Available for around £95 (at the time of writing this review)
Read more about the Arran Distillery here