Douglas Laing to release 25-year-old Big Peat

Have you ever tried Big Peat? It is an extraordinarily peaty and smokey whisky released by the independent bottler, Douglas Laing. It has a massive number of releases, with some of them having only limited bottles.

Douglas Laing recently announced a new release of their iconic Big Peat whisky. What is exciting about this announcement is the age-statement attached to the latest Big Peat. Planned to be launched in December 2017, the 25-year-old Big Peat that is gracing the newest addition to the Big Peat family is causing quite a stir!

The 25-year-old Big Peat is the debut bottle of an “old and rare” limited edition trilogy collection of the Big Peat range. Given the name “The Gold Edition, this 25-year-old invites high expectations from whisky lovers. There are two more releases in this collection, with the later editions likely to go up in years. Douglas Laing bottled Big Peat 25-year-old at cask strength of 52.1% abv. With only 3000 bottles available globally, the bottle’s time on the shelf is likely to be very short. The price in the secondary market is going to be interesting too. Currently, we are not sure if this expression will be available in Singapore.

About Big Peat

Big Peat is essentially the representative of Islay in a bottle. It is a marriage of malt whiskies from the island of Islay. It is produced without colouring or chill-filtration and bottled at 46% abv to retain the aromas and flavours of the whisky. If you ask what is in Big Peat, we heard that it includes Caol Ila, Bowmore, Ardbeg and Port Ellen. Yes, the best of Islay are all in Big Peat, so perhaps it is time to try a Big Peat if you have yet to try it.

 

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Event: Glenfiddich Launches Experimental Series in Asia Pacific

 

The long-awaited release of Glenfiddich Experimental Series landed on 9 November 2017 in Asia Pacific. This series works to define Glenfiddich as an innovative distillery that is not afraid to push the boundary to create new and exciting variants in the industry.  The series started with two bottles – the IPA experiment and the Project XX (pronounced as twenty). Both bottles will be available through Travel Retail at less than $100 per bottle.

Exclusive Invite to Glenfiddich Launch

Our friends at William Grant & Sons warmly invited us to the launch party on 10 November 2017 at Funan SG Showsuite. The party was already in full swing when we arrived. After sorting out our passes for the night, we headed straight to the bar to check out the whiskies.

We found our targets sitting at the bar, waiting. Both the IPA Experiment and Project XX were available at the bar. You can choose to have it neat, on the rocks or as a cocktail. We decided to go slow, and hence we tried the Project XX on the rocks.

Project XX – on the rocks

Yumm…the sweet aroma wafted up immediately. Summer fruits, fresh pears, and red apples burst onto the nose. There were notes of a creamy vanilla cupcake with some oak sweetness, a hint of liquorice and gentle spice. A sip of the whisky proved that the ice did not dilute the taste at all. Candy floss sweetness coated our palate with a creamy vanilla oakiness before opening up to almonds, cinnamon spice and hints of tannin. The long-lasting finish with the lingering sweet oakiness completes the journey with Project XX.

What a beautiful dram. It may not be the most complex, but it certainly wins our hearts with its deep and mellow characteristic.

Official Launch

The voice of Matthew Fergusson-Stewart, the Glenfiddich Regional Brand Ambassador in Asia Pacific, captured our attention as he tried his best to gather all of us to the front of the venue where he waited to introduce the two whiskies officially with his partner, Danial Goh, the godfather of beer in Singapore. As everyone made their way to the front, we, too, went all the way to the front so that we could capture their handsome faces adequately. (Teehee!)

Matthew waxed lyrical about the two whiskies and also introduced the beer godfather of Singapore to everyone. He is the regional brand ambassador for Glenfiddich in Asia Pacific and is a well-known figure in the region. Matt has an extensive knowledge of all things whiskies as he honed his skills in the whisky industry for the past decade. His impressive resume also won him the title of the Scotch Whisky Brand Ambassador of the year 2017 from Icons of Whisky awards.

Daniel Goh is a pioneer in the Singapore craft beer scene. He is fondly known as the godfather of beer in Singapore because he started the revolution of selling craft beers out of a hawker stall in 2011. Known as The Good Beer Company, Daniel helps to expand the craft beer scene in Singapore.  In 2013, he co-founded Smith Street Taps, which went on to win the “Best Beer Bar” award at The Bar Awards Singapore 2017. In fact, the bar is also named one of Asia’s best beer bar by CNN and voted as one of the most fabulous bar in the world in Condé Nast Traveler.

Before the guests were split up for the whisky tasting session, WhiskyGeeks managed to grab both Matthew and Daniel for a photo together. You know they are fun people to hang out with just by looking at their pictures, isn’t it?

Whisky Tasting Session

When we finally headed up to level 2 of the show suite for our tasting session, we discovered something else. They were serving beer! Why? The answer should be quite obvious. The IPA experiment was matured in beer cask! Daniel started the ball rolling by introducing the IPA Experiment to us. He explained that IPA is popular in Europe and Glenfiddich wanted to try something entirely different in these series of innovative experiments. Therefore, they chose the IPA. Glenfiddich seasoned the cask by the IPA before pouring the whisky into the cask for maturation. Guess what happened to the beer? Nope, the distillery did not waste it. They bottled it and sold it at one of the festivals in Speyside!

Both the IPA (beer) and the IPA Experiment (whisky) were available for us to compare the aromas and flavours. The beer was fresh, floral and sweet. The taste was slightly bitter and refreshing. The whisky took on a whole new level of characteristics. Green apples, fresh pears and intense floral notes mixed with herbs burst through the nose. Then you get the Glenfiddich characteristics of fruits and sweet vanilla oak. The palate followed the nose with robust citrus notes and soft, sweet vanilla. A hint of fresh hops hung in the background. The long-lasting finish of delicious fruits and subtle green hops ends the journey with the IPA Experiment.

Matthew then shared the history of Project XX – how it came about. 20 brand ambassadors across the world went to the Glenfiddich warehouse, and each of them was given a choice to choose one cask. None of them knew what was going on, and they treated it like a game. What happened afterwards was magical – their Malt Master, Brian Kinsman, married those 20 casks in a vat and Project XX was born!

After sampling Project XX, Matthew gave us a surprise! He let us try HIS CASK! The one that he picked for Project XX. It was a cask strength whisky, and that, my readers, was pure delight. The sweet and floral nose coupled with the balanced palate was more than what we could have asked for!

More Surprises

Before we left the party, the team from Glenfiddich gave us another surprise. There was a media kit prepared for us, and the gifts were indeed generous. Just take a look at that!

It was indeed a fantastic party filled with fun, laughter and delicious whiskies. We are blown by the generosity of William Grant & Sons and look forward to grabbing some bottles from the Travel Retail at Changi Airport soon!

Appreciating Whisky in 5 Different Ways

The world of whisky is varied and often contentious. Good whiskies may be everywhere, but the affordability of said whisky may be questionable. With the price of whisky trending upwards around the world, the way we serve and drink it becomes a controversial part of how we enjoy the precious liquid.

Whisky lovers would agree that there isn’t a correct way of drinking whisky, but there are specific preferred ways of drinking it. We highlight five different styles of drinking whisky below.

Drink it Neat

Drinking whisky neat (just as it is) is a conventional method favoured by many whisky lovers. Taking the liquid as it is and not adding anything helps to retain the flavour of the whisky. The drinker experiences the purest form of the whisky, just as how the whisky maker has tasted it. The excitement comes through when the drinker interacts with the whisky to find the different aromas and flavours over time and oxidation, all without the influence of external substances.

Drink it with Water

Some people enjoy whisky with a little water. There is a whole argument behind the adding of water to whisky. Some people said that water dilutes the alcohol influence in the whisky and opens up the flavours and aromas of the whisky. It allows for a better appreciation for some whisky lovers. The opposite camp argues that drinking a whisky neat is the way to go because one should taste whisky straight from the bottle. There is no right or wrong answer to this – it is merely a matter of preferences.

Drink it with an Iceball or on the rocks

Adding ice is yet another conventional way of drinking whisky – with ice. It can be an iceball or some ice cubes. The idea is to dilute the alcohol level in the whisky as well as to chill the drink. While some whisky drinkers swear by this way of drinking, others feel that the ice spoils the taste and flavours of the whisky.

Make a Highball

A highball is a favourite way of drinking whisky among Japanese and some ladies around the world. It is simple to make – just add lots of ice and carbonated water to whisky, stir it with a long spoon, and you have a highball! The highball lengthens the drink and also dilute the alcohol content to make it palatable for drinkers who dislike the bite of higher abv.

Make a Whisky Cocktail

A cocktail is meant to be light and suitable for people who can’t drink very well. However, a whisky cocktail can be potent, and those who do not take very well to alcohol should be careful before ordering one of these. A whisky cocktail is full of surprises because it can vary from smokey to overtly sweet, depending on the whisky base used. A cocktail made from an Islay whisky is smokey and savoury while a cocktail made from American bourbon tends to be a tad too sweet. Nonetheless, every whisky cocktail has its uniqueness.

Other ways to drink whisky

There are other different methods to drink whisky. One can add cola or green tea to their whiskies, or one can drink it with whisky stones. Whisky stones are made from steel or granite and work to chill the whisky without diluting the taste.

Everyone has their preference, and nobody is right or wrong. Some whisky drinkers may cringe when they see others adding cola or green tea to their whiskies, but nobody should dictate how another drinks his or her whisky. It is entirely up to the drinker.

Therefore, if you are a beginner and did not like the bite of the high abv too much, remember that you can enjoy your whisky in other forms besides having it neat. A whisky highball may be the best drink for you, if only you try it!

Enjoy your drink! No one will judge you.

 

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Whisky Event: Isle of Arran Whisky Masterclass

Quaich Bar invited us to their cosy Waterfront Plaza flagship store for an Isle of Arran Distillers Whisky Masterclass last Thursday to meet managing director, Mr Euan Mitchell, of Arran distillery. A couple of other bar owners and whisky experts also attended the event.

The subject of the event is the range of exceptional Arran whiskies which Euan wanted to showcase, as well as for Euan to share more about the distillery with us. WhiskyGeeks is honoured to take the front seat this time, and we got the chance to get up close and personal with Euan.

An Interesting Event Kick-Off

Quaich bar’s owners, Khoon Hui and Joyce, kicked off the event with some tasty chocolate milk. Oh, wait, milk? Well, it wasn’t technically chocolate milk, but it was cream liqueur mixed with Arran Malt. If you guess that it was the Arran Gold, you got it! Here’s a little picture of this beautiful baby.

When Euan arrived on the scene, all of us were ready to take on more yummy stuff that he wanted to introduce.

The event started officially with an introduction to the distillery, the production process and of course, a little history about them. As the only distillery on the Isle of Arran, the privately-owned distillery has a lot of room to grow.

Euan Mitchell is the managing director of Isle of Arran Distillers. Their Master Distiller, James MacTaggart, recently celebrated his ten anniversary with the company. As an independent company, there are no red tapes around any decisions made, and things typically progress pretty quickly around the distillery.

The Liquid Gold from the Isle of Arran Distillery

After the short introduction, Euan and Khoon Hui produced the liquid that we were all eagerly waiting for.

We tasted six different whiskies that afternoon beside the Arran Gold cream liqueur. The whiskies were the 10-year-old, 14-year-old, 18-year-old, Machrie Moor Cask Strength, Amarone Cask Finish and the Sauternes Cask Finish. The 10, 14 and 18-year-old are part of their core range, while the rest are limited releases from the distillery.

Every bottle is exquisite in their way, and each offers something to the whisky drinker. The 10-year-old is perfect for the beginner; someone who wants to try. The 14-year-old has a little more to offer and is an ideal dram for a beginner who wants to upgrade. The 18-years-old is more complex and likely favoured by the more seasoned drinkers.

As for the limited releases, the Amarone and Sauternes Cask Finish are part of Arran’s Cask Finishes series. There is a third bottle with a port cask finish, but we did not try that one. The Machrie Moor is perhaps the unique whisky out of the lot. It is the only peated whisky in the Arran range, and Arran releases one batch each year. The peat is controlled at 20 ppm (parts per million), making the whisky gently peated. The added flavour enhances the sweet citrusy spice that is Arran and makes the whisky fantastic. The highly abv also heightens the aroma and characteristics of the whisky.

Exciting News ahead for our Readers

Euan patiently explained each whisky and their ideas behind each bottle. He also answered many questions, including one involving new releases! According to Euan, the world has something fresh to look out for in 2018 – Arran 21-year-old! Besides that, there is a chance that Arran may consider a single cask bottling, especially for Quaich Bar Singapore!

Euan also shared that Arran has a more significant market in Taiwan and Japan and has some new single cask releases there. As the WhiskyGeeks team is heading to Taiwan soon for Whisky Fair Takao, we are going to search for some of those single cask releases! If there is a chance for us to try them, we will share our results, promise!

As the event draws to a close, we ask Euan for a photograph together, and he happily agreed to it.

We hope that Euan will be back to our sunny island soon and we look forward to meeting him again!

 

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Isle of Arran Distillery – The One and Only

The Isle of Arran Distillery sits in the foothills of the village of Lochranza on the north-west tip of the Isle of Arran. The owner of the distillery chose this location because of its vicinity to Loch na Davie. Loch na Davie holds the purest water in all of Scotland because granite and peat cleansed and softened the water in its slow meandering down from the mountaintops.

Short History of the Isle of Arran

The Isle of Arran used to house about fifty distilleries on the island. However, most of them were illegal, and smuggling activities went on for a period. Similar to Campbeltown, the proximity to water made producing and selling moonshine easy. However, as time passed, these illegal distilleries either obtained licenses to operate officially or close down. The last legal distillery on the Isle of Arran, called Lagg, was closed in 1837.

History of Arran Distillery

Harold Currie, a former director of Chivas, founded Arran Distillers in 1994 with the intention of building a distillery on Arran. Construction started in 1994 but halted after a pair of endangered golden eagles built their nests on a cliff near the distillery. As a result of the interruption, the distillery opened only in 1995. Arran distillery also took on the silhouette of two golden eagles as part of their logo.

The first spirit ran from the stills at the Arran distillery on 29th June 1995 at precisely 14.29 hours. It is the moment of glory for the Isle of Arran as it is the first legal distillation after more than 150 years of non-activity. The distillery was forced to store some casks in the warehouse of Springbank distillery due to their small capacity. However, in a recent revolutionary upgrade, the Arran distillery is now capable of storing and maintaining its production efficiency.

An interesting note about the founder, Harold Currie, is the fact that he was 70 years old when he decided to build Arran. He lived to a ripe, old age of 91 years old and left the distillery in capable hands when he passed on.

Production Methods at Arran Distillery

Arran distillery continues to use the traditional methods of producing whisky. The only drawback for the distillery is its lack of space for a traditional malting floor. Nonetheless, they buy their barley from the best source in Scotland to ensure high quality.

Arran distillery used barley and water from Loch na Davie to make their whisky. First, the barley and water are mixed in a mash tun to make wort, which then goes into wooden washbacks. The workers then add yeast to the wort for fermentation. To ensure a fruity new make, fermentation at Arran runs between 52 hours to 72 hours. The result is a liquid called “wash”, which is what we know as beer.

The workers double distilled the wash in copper pot stills and the final new make is a liquid that is about 68% alcohol strength. The distillation team placed this colourless liquid into oak casks that previously held sherry or bourbon. The wood gives the colour and character of the whisky, so the choice of the cask is one of the crucial influence for the final product.

Most of the Arran whiskies are bottled at either 46% abv or cask strength, so the flavours and aromas are retained for enjoyment. There are some of them which are bottled at 40% and 43% abv.

The Range of Arran Whiskies

Some bottles from the range of Arran’s exceptional whiskies

Arran has an impressive range of whiskies despite its young age as a distillery. All of the single malt whiskies at Arran are non-peated except for one. While most of their single malts are non-age statements, they do have age statement whiskies in their core range. We highlight some of them below:

Arran Lochranza Reserve

This is a non-age statement whisky bottled at 43% abv. It was released to celebrate the location of the distillery and named after the village. It is made up of 7 to 8-year-old whiskies mostly matured in bourbon oak casks.

Arran 10-year-old single malt

The Arran 10-year-old single malt is their flagship single malt. It is the backbone of Arran distillery, and one of the most enjoyed Arran whiskies in the world.

Arran 14-year-old single malt

The Arran 14-year-old single malt is one which is exceedingly popular among whisky drinkers. Slightly more complex than the 10-year-old, it is the go-to Arran whisky if you are looking for more complexity and richer flavours.

Arran 18-year-old single malt

The Arran 18-year-old single malt is the premium league of the Arran range of whiskies. The complexity is heightened at 18 years old, and the whisky displays rich and matured notes of Arran’s signature – orchard fruits and vanilla.

Arran Machrie Moor and Machrie Moor Cask Strength

Arran Machrie Moor and its cask strength version are released yearly since 2010 in small batches. Every batch is slightly different, but the core flavours are mostly the same. The difference is more prominent in the cask strength version as the abv usually differs from the previous year batch.

In addition to the above, Arran also experimented with wine cask finishes. Currently, they have three different wine cask finished whiskies labelled as cask finishes.

Arran Port Cask Finish

The Arran Port Cask Finish is the first experiment of wine cask finish. Using barrels from Portugal, the port wine cask give a sweeter finish to the typical Arran Malt.

Arran Sauternes Cask Finish

The Arran Sauternes Cask Finish is a sweeter version of the Port Cask Finish due to the influence of the delicious white wine that is Sauternes. The whisky is highly complex with notes of the white Sauternes shining through.

Arran Amarone Cask Finish

The Arran Amarone Cask Finish is a marriage of the Arran malt with the cask of Amarone wine from the north-east of Italy. The Amarone cask imparts a bright reddish tinge to the whisky and gives higher complexity to the drink.

There are other Arran whiskies such as the Smugglers Series, The Bothy Quarter Cask, the Robert Burns Single Malt and the latest release of the Arran Malt Distiller’s Edition. The newest release celebrates the 10th anniversary of Arran’s master distiller, James MacTaggart working with Arran Distillery.

Arran In the Future

Arran distillery has much to offer to the world of whisky, and we look forward to more exceptional whiskies from them. There is new of a 21-year-old Scotch coming in 2018 so do stay tuned for more! Arran is also building a second distillery in the southern tip of the Isle of Arran, in the village of Lagg. The new distillery will take over the making of the peated Machrie Moor series. Estimated to complete only in 2019, the future of Arran is looking brighter with each passing moment.

 

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Whisky Review #71 – Arran Sauternes Cask Finish

The Arran Cask Finish is an experimental series that Arran did to cast new insights into the excellent Arran Single Malt produced by the distillery. The whisky is transferred from the traditional oak casks into three different wine casks for a period to add flavours and character. It is then bottled at 50% when they achieved the balance between the malt and the wine casks. The higher abv retains the aroma and flavour of these expressions.

The subject of today’s review is the Arran Sauternes Cask Finish. It is almost a gourmet whisky after taking on influences from the highly sought-after Bordeaux sweet wine. Arran sourced the Sauternes cask from an artisan producer of the Sauternes white wine, and we are assured that it is a fantastic whisky to try.

Let’s check it out!

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Bright Gold
ABV: 50%

Nose: The Bordeaux sweetness is apparent on the nose. Tropical fruits, oaky sweetness and a slight musk hang in the forefront. Pepper spice fades in and out from the background. (16/20)

Palate: Rich, honeyed notes coats the palate coupled with a little citrus zest in the back of the tongue. A gentle spice floats in the background, adding some depth but not overwhelming the sweetness of the honey and citrus. Towards the end, the spice turns warm as the liquid goes down the throat. Quite a good whisky to drink on a cold winter night. (18/20)

Finish: Relatively long finish with sweet honey and the return of tropical fruits. (16/20)

Body: It is not as well-balanced as the Amarone Cask Finish, but it is still a balanced whisky. The surprising citrus zest in the palate is both the strength and weakness of the whisky. Nonetheless, it is savoury and worthy to try. (30/40)

Total Score: 80/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “I think this is the whisky to drink on a cold night when you want to savour a good whisky for some warmth. Among the 2 Arran Cask Finish whiskies which I had tried, I prefer the Arran Amarone Cask Finish to the Sauternes Cask Finish because I think there is a deeper character in the Amarone Cask Finish. I have yet to try the Port Wine Cask though – will be back to Quaich Bar to try it!” 

Geek Choc: “Well, Flora remembered me this time, and I get to try this delicious whisky. I like the honeyed notes in this one. While I had only nose the Amarone Cask Finish and did not try it, I guess that I will prefer the Sauternes over the Amarone because of its warm spice.”

 

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Whisky Review #70 – Arran Amarone Cask Finish

The Arran Cask Finish is an experimental series that Arran did to cast new insights into the excellent Arran Single Malt produced by the distillery. The whisky is transferred from the traditional oak casks into three different wine casks for a period to add flavours and character. It is then bottled at 50% when they achieved the balance between the malt and the wine casks. The higher abv retains the aroma and flavour of these expressions.

Today’s review looks at the Arran Amarone Cask Finish. It is an expression known for its complexity as Arran sourced the Amarone casks from a traditional and respected Italian producer of this iconic red wine. The Amarone Cask Finish comes with some high recommendations, so we tried it without hesitation.

Let’s dive into the review now.

 Tasting Notes:

Colour: Deep Amber
ABV: 50%

Nose: The first waft of the aroma is that of a sweet red wine or that of a cherry liqueur before developing notes of honey and pear. Some cranberry juice lingers in the background. It is an elegant nose that reminds us of high-quality red wines. (17/20)

Palate: Sweet plum notes coats the palate immediately when the liquid enters the mouth. As we hold the whisky in the mouth, a gentle pepper spice develops. Dark chocolate soon appears and adds a delicious layer in between the plum and spice. (17/20)

Finish: The finish is long with sweet fruity notes of cranberry and cherry. Sweet plums add to the elegance of the finish. It is almost like a high abv red wine. (17/20)

Body: A beautiful, well-balanced body with characteristics of the red wine finishing makes this whisky a winner among the Arran range of whiskies. The subtle sweetness throughout the experience of drinking from nose to finish makes this whisky approachable and easy to accept, even for those who may not be whisky drinkers. (33/40)

Total Score: 84/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “The Arran Amarone Cask Finish is my favourite in the Cask Finish series. The balance is exquisite between whisky and red wine, making it extra special. The elegance of this whisky is exceptional. I enjoyed this very much.”

Geek Choc: “Geek Flora drank everything! I did not get to taste this, but I got to nose the glass after the liquid is gone. 🙁 The nose is lovely though, and I would love to try it soon!”

 

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Whisky Review #69 – Machrie Moor 2016 Cask Strength

Machrie Moor is Arran’s special child. It is the only peated whisky in its entire collection and is bottled at both 46% and at cask strength. The Machrie Moor series started as a yearly release in 2010 and Arran has plans to expand their peated selection moving forward.

The history of Machrie Moor started in 2004 when Arran’s master distiller decided to try a peated Arran. The peat was obtained from Machrie Moor which is near to the distillery, hence the name of the expression. The yearly releases are different from one another, and the most prominent difference is their ABV.

The object of our review here is Machrie Moor 2016 Cask Strength (CS). The expression is a single malt whisky that is made up of 5 to 7 years old whiskies aged in bourbon casks with a moderate peat level of 20ppm.

Let’s dive into the review.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Pale Gold
ABV: 58.5%

Nose: Citrus fruits like orange and lemon is at the forefront with gentle peat floating in the background. Hints of creamy vanilla notes hide in the background too. (16/20)

Palate: Sweet citrus fruits (lemons) come through strongly and coats the palate. As the liquid stays in the mouth, peppercorn coats the palate and lingers. The peat smoke gentle swirls around the palate, combining beautifully with the citrus and pepper spice. (18/20)

Finish: Long finish with creamy vanilla notes. Peat smoke lingers gently in the mouth for a long time before exiting like a puff of smoke. (17/20)

Body: A beautiful and balanced expression that is surprising for a young whisky such as the Machrie Moor 2016. The characteristic of this gentle peated whisky is excellent for simple exploration. While it is not a peat monster, the slight smoke is a perfect way to introduce a new person to smoky whisky. (30/40)

Total Score: 81/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “I love this! It is a gentle peated whisky that all ladies can enjoy without choking on thick smoke. It is perfect for whisky lovers who want more complexity in their whiskies.”

Geek Choc: “Well, I think it is a well-balanced whisky I enjoyed. However, I think it can be better if the ppm is higher. I am looking forward to new Machrie Moor with a higher ppm.”

 

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Whisky Review #68 – Arran 18-Year-Old

18 is a magic number in the whisky world. It is common for whisky lovers to look out for aged liquid 18 years and above. Somehow, the liquid almost always tastes better. Nevertheless, there are still exceptions, and we believe that we can’t judge until we tasted the liquid.

The Arran 18-year-old is currently the oldest expression in the core range. While it may soon lose its position as the oldest expression, this champion is still worth exploring because of its complexity. It is made up of almost 90% of ex-sherry cask whisky and the rest from ex-bourbon cask. Do expect this whisky to be sweeter than the 10 and 14-year-old.

Let’s look into this beautiful 18-year-old whisky.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Deep Gold
ABV: 46%

Nose: Sweet sherry oakiness wafts up the nose with baked peaches in syrup in the forefront. Some toasted nuts (likely almonds) are present too. Hints of vanilla and light cinnamon spice hides in the background. (17/20)

Palate: Caramel sweetness (sherry influence) coupled with soft cinnamon spice coat the palate. There are also notes of sweet white peaches and citrus fruits at the back of the mouth. (17/20)

Finish: Long finish with sweet white peaches all the way. It is also slightly astringent (oak influence) towards the end. (16/20)

Body: This expression is well-balanced and has more character. The flavours and aromas mix well together to create an expression with depth worth exploring. (30/40)

Total Score: 80/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “Yums! The 18-year-old is indeed more magical than the 10 and 14-year-old. I might just change my mind about buying the 14-year-old and upgrading straight to the 18-year-old!”

Geek Choc:“This is my favourite so far. I have a special love for ex-sherry cask whisky, and the 18-year-old is just right. The balance between the sherry, bourbon and oak influence is right, making this whisky balanced.”

 

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Whisky Review #67: Arran 14-Year-Old

Arran distillery needs no more introduction after our post of its history and another one on the event at Quaich Bar. The object of our review today is the Arran 14-year-old. Dubbed as the perfect “go-to” dram for a whisky lover who wants to upgrade from the 10-year-old and not yet wanting to advance to the 18-year-old, this whisky here is a beautiful expression.

Arran 14-year-old is made up of whiskies matured in 60% ex-sherry casks and 40% ex-bourbon casks. Therefore, when compared to the 10-year-old, it is not as fruity but sweeter due to the sherry influence.

Let’s check out the review now.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: Copper Gold
ABV: 46%

Nose: Sweet oak mixed with dried fruits, vanilla and toffee, come up front when we first nose it. The spice hides in the background. When we add a little water, some sea salt tang appears alongside caramelised fruits notes. (16/20)

Palate: Sweet vanilla and honey coat the palate with notes of green apples and pears. Charred oak is also prominent with spice at the back of the tongue. Interestingly, the spice disappears, and the honey notes become more noticeable after airing the whisky. With water, the spice comes a little stronger to the forefront, but the vanilla and honey sweetness quickly overcome it. (16/20)

Finish: The finish is reasonably long with dried fruits and vanilla notes. Some honey is also detected at the end. (15/20)

Body: The balance for the 14-year-old is slightly better than the 10-year-old. It is still somewhat singular in its profile but an upgrade from the 10-year-old. (30/40)

Total Score: 77/100

Comments:

Geek Flora: “The 14-year-old is slightly more complex as compared to the 10-year-old. While I still tend to lean towards the simple 10-year-old for my daily dram, this 14-year-old is a potential upgrade for me after I finished the 10-year-old bottle.” 

Geek Choc: “It is singular, but I kinda like it. The higher sherry influence in the 14-year-old appeals to me as the sweetness of the dried fruits makes it more interesting.” 

 

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