Dancing Lightly with Apricots
Why do we hang onto bottles, leaving them sitting on the shelf, unopened? I must confess that I’ve had this bottle for more than a year but never made time to open it. I didn’t mean to neglect it. Maybe I had a case of “SQUIRREL! syndrome” and other shiny bottlings caught my attention.
As I look at the full bottles gracing the shelves of my bar, it seems I may have a slight hoarding issue. I’m certainly no collector. But more are unopened than ready to pour. Perhaps some self discovery is in order with a dram or two of Arran 14 to ponder why.
And now, that I finally get around to tasting and reviewing this bottle, Arran has discontinued this 14 year expression. Ugh. There are still bottles around and easy to spot in a beautiful purple and gold/copperish foil label. Y’all know how I love Purple and Gold (Geaux Tigers!).
Arran’s distillery at Lochranza, on the Isle of Arran, celebrates its 25th anniversary of production this year. A second facility, located in Lagg at the south end of the island, handles most of their peated spirits. Arran recently changed their entire line with new expressions and packaging. The core range now features age statement expressions of 10, 18, and 21 year old bottlings with a handful of NAS offerings. Read more here on Arran’s changes and what will remain in their line up.
Distillery: Isle of Arran Distillers
Expression: Arran 14
Origin: Island (Isle of Arran)
NCF: Yes, natural color
Age: 14 Years
Date Distilled: 2002
Date Bottled: 2016
Cask: Ex-Bourbon for 12 years, then fresh Sherry casks for 2 years
Fun Fact: When their 3 year-old Arran Single Malt was released in 1998, it was the first legal dram on Arran for over 160 years!
Sampling it neat….
Color: Straw Gold with delicate clinging.
Nose: Apricot sweetness and tart orange oil with a whiff of cereal and walnuts.
Palate: Thin mouth-feel, dried apricots and orange chocolate that turns to tame white pepper at the front of the tongue, rolling to sweetness in the mid-palate.
Finish: Light spice lingers with dryness of roasted walnuts.
Lightness follows into the palate with a richer than expected burst of apricot-peachiness with a nibble of those chocolate orange candies. There’s a whisper of white pepper that dissipates almost as fast as it appeared. Moderate dried fruit sweetness returns, no doubt a result of fresh sherry casks are used (those recently rid of their wine and not recharred) in its last two years of maturation. A real easy sipper. Love that it is 46% ABV.
Subtle heat remains on the finish along with a dryness as if you’ve snacked on a couple of roasted walnuts.
This dram evolves in flavor, finding its own as the sips progress. The first sip is vastly different than the 4th or 5th, each dancing lightly with layers of dried apricots, walnuts and orange.
With a little water…
The nose holds true with no major change, well, perhaps a bit more orange than apricot. There is no alcohol flare at all, even at 46% ABV. On the palate, far more pepper on the front end then some sweetness. The finish still lingers on the spice with more pronounced malt.
I really like this bottle and be sure, I’ll be scrounging for any remaining bottles I can find. At $65 a 750 ml bottle it is a super value for a 14 year expression. I’ll keep this on my bar for as long as it is available. It’s a good scotch for a bourbon person to try. Not too much sherry and absolutely no smoke or peat.
Have you had this dram? What do you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!
Links to some of my favorite YouTubers for their reviews on Arran 14
Trenny and C with Aqvavitae https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfQ_CRGIKnI
Scotch Test Dummies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n42VwlUrXo
Whiskey in the 6 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvZTzZE0v9E&t=665s