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Buying a Cask? Check out Lagg Distillery’s Offer

Lagg Distillery is the peated brother of Arran Distillery, located on the Isle of Arran. The new distillery will exclusively distil peated spirits that remind drinkers of Arran, but it is also different from what you will expect from Arran.

Location of Lagg Distillery

The new distillery sits near the village of Lagg, in the Parish of Kilmory. It is at the southern tip of the Isle of Arran, so it is right at the other end of the island from Arran distillery. This area was famous for both legal and illegal whisky distillation in the past so building a new distillery here seemed like a perfect plan.

Cask Sales

Lagg Distillery is offering a once-in-a-lifetime cask ownership for all whisky lovers at the moment. The distillery commits 700 casks for sales from its first run of peated spirits when the distillery opens in late 2018. Each of these ex-bourbon casks is going at a price of £6,000 and will be filled with the new, heavily peated single malt spirit. The cost includes a maturation period of 10 years. After ten years, owners can choose to bottle their casks or continue the maturation period with additional fees. An expected outturn after ten years yields about 280 bottles (70cl) of 46% abv.

What do you get when you purchase a cask?

When you purchase a cask, you do not just own a barrel! Lagg distillery also offers the following benefits:

  • Membership to the Lagg Cask Society (an exclusive group of cask owners)
  • A bottle of whisky from Lagg Cask No. 1
  • Have your name displayed on the Lagg “Wall of Fame.”
  • A free stay at the Lagg Hotel
  • A piece of history that you will be proud of

Lagg distillery also pledged not to sell additional casks (other than the 700 cask committed) for the next ten years, ensuring that you will be a part of the exclusive group of owners to own a cask.

Buying a Cask? Consider Lagg Distillery

If you are thinking to buy a cask or are in the market to source for a cask, why not consider Lagg Distillery? The peated expressions from Arran, Machie Moor, are fantastic and we believe that Lagg will continue the good works that Arran has done so far.

 

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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 #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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