Arran Devil’s Punchbowl II

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Distillery/Brand: Arran
Region : Islands
ABV: 53.1%
Colour: Pale Straw

Nose: 22
Taste: 22
Finish: 22
Balance: 22

Review
I’ve not had a lot of Arran malts but the ones I’ve had have been quite nice. There was a 1996 Single Cask I had a while ago which blew my mind. So I was enthused to give this one a go. Lovely packaging with gorgeous graphics on a black bottle gives this one full marks for presentation.

It has a strong malty nose with a touch of raisiny sweetness. Followed by crushed white grapes on a grassy morning sprinkled with all kinds of herbs. And cool cucumber. Like being on a picnic.

A clean delivery brings an attack of honey, wet grass, white pepper with a droplets of woody lemon. No real flaws except maybe I would have liked it to be a bit chewy.

The finish, too, is fresh with the gentlest of aniseed.

This is a nice malt which ticks of most of the right boxes. However, when you have a jet black bottle with an angry flying demon and big bold red letters then you’re expecting something dark, complex and brooding. But that’s not the case.

This malt is like forcing a young schoolboy with a sunny disposition to wear goth clothes and dark makeup.

Rating: 88

Arran Malt Amarone Cask Finish

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Distiller:
Arran

ABV:
50%

Colour:
Full Gold

Nose: 21
Taste: 22
Finish: 23
Balance: 22

Review:
I like my wines. Maybe not as much as single malts but I’m quite happy swirling a glass or two of red the odd evening. And so the prospect of trying out a single malt aged in Amarone wine casks was quite an exciting prospect.

This no age-statement, deeply colored offering from Arran has possibly one of the sweetest noses I’ve ever come across (so sweet that I suspect Mr Richard Paterson has something to do with it!). There’s honey, there’s caramel, there’s molasses and it’s all simmering in a large oaky bowl. Thrown in the mix are a handful of nuts and a cup of dark grapes. Finally a fresh fruit platter of bananas, melons and black currants are added to round off a dizzying combination of all that is sweet and saccharine!

As the spicy, woody clove bombs burst in your mouth they are accompanied by large pieces of red licorish and tangy sweet cherries. This is, of course, in stark contrast to the sweet sweet nose experienced just moments earlier. As the spirit dries in your mouth the sugars finally come into play in the form of burnt treacle and dark jam.

A long, dry finish rounds off an interesting and highly likable single malt from Arran.

Rating : 88