Origin: Isle of Arran (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon first fill
Added coloring: No
Owner: Lochranza Distillery
Average price: € 35.00
Official website: www.arranwhisky.com
The online tasting dedicated to Arran organised by Whisky Italy at the end of March, with the presence of Global Brand Ambassador Mariella Romano connected from Scotland, has the merit of having turned the spotlight on a distillery that, despite the numerous certificates of approval it has earned over time, is perhaps still a little neglected by Italian drinkers, (legitimately) in love with everything that tastes of peat and for the most part unaware of the fact that for years Arran too has been bottling a peated whisky at 50/55 ppm, such as Ardbeg Ten: Machrie Moor.
Today we taste the Barrel Reserve, a NAS that replaces the now defunct Lochranza Reserve and which, in the distillery’s intentions, serves as an introduction to the house style. The result of blending 7/8 year old casks with others of greater age, all ex-Bourbon first fill barrels, it is proposed at 43% ABV, after being chillfiltered (slightly, we read in the production notes), but without the addition of colorants.
The colour immediately brings to mind white wine, and when you approach the nose, the very first impression is indeed of white wine. However, this is a deceptive prelude, because on the nose, the aromatic score plays notes of fruit: pear juice, banana, yellow apple, with a touch of ginger to enliven the melody. In the background there’s a scent of freshly cut wood and a hint of cereal that recalls barley. The overall sensation is one of freshness, it is a pity that as the minutes pass the intensity of the fragrances inexorably diminishes.
On the palate, the consistency is almost absolute: the notes remain the same, but the tone changes. Here the wood breaks away from the background to play, along with the ginger, a leading role, leaving the rest (pear juice and yellow apple) a little behind. As the dram progresses, the barley also gets stronger.
The finish, which is rather short, leaves memories of ginger and barley in the mouth.
Barrel Reserve is a young whisky, easy to approach, basic in structure and pleasing to the senses. However, it runs the risk of conveying the wrong idea about Arran whiskies, which are capable of a very different energy, and not only in ageing.