Origin: Isle of Arran (Scotland)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Ageing casks: Ex-Bourbon
Added coloring: No
Owner: Lochranza Distillery
Average price: € 50.00
Official website: www.arranwhisky.com
On the west coast of Arran Island is a windswept moor, Machrie Moor, whose undulating terrain features Bronze Age stone circles and menhirs. One of the circles is known as Fingal’s Cauldron Seat, and one of the stones has a carved hole in it: it is said that the legendary giant Fingal used to tie up Bran, his favourite dog.
Hence the name and packaging of this Arran Machrie Moor, the only peated whisky produced by the Lochranza distillery, which began as a limited edition and then, given its success, became a staple of the core range.
In 2019, the Arran estate opened Lagg Distillery, deputed solely for the production of peated whisky, but this bottling still comes from the main site.
Machrie Moor is a NAS aged in ex-Bourbon casks, with a stated peat level of 20ppm. There are two versions on the market: a standard 46% ABV (under review today) and a cask strength version whose strength varies according to release.
The colour is straw yellow.
On the nose the whisky presents itself with a rather intense cigarette smoke, accompanied by a hint of burnt wood and a spicy note of white pepper, cloves and nutmeg on a note of fat dripping from a hot grill. A scent of hay and a touch of walnut are the prelude to the turning point, with the smoke fading to give way first to impressions of leather, pipe tobacco and coffee beans, and then to a creamy vin santo. As we continue our olfactory examination, we notice the emergence of a herbaceous trait that brings to mind, in some ways, the old edition of the 10yo, to which is added a citrus scent that can be traced back to cedar.
On the palate, we expected an equally intense beginning of cigarette smoke, but we are surprised: the peat note is now just a hint, a thin ribbon linking impressions of custard and coffee beans covered in dark chocolate, with a sprinkling of white pepper to enliven the picture. Along the length there is again a citrus reflex, this time of mandarin zest.
The medium persistent finish brings us back to the smoke that greeted us at the entrance, with just a touch of pepper.
If Arran’s peculiarities are well masked on the nose (at least up to a certain point), in the mouth the peated note evaporates rather quickly and the distillate shows its deeper nature.
The result is a whisky that doesn’t deny its origins and is an interesting variation on familiar themes for Arran fans.