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!