A dynamic new force in the scotch whisky industry, Isle of Arran Distiller is one of the few remaining independent distilleries in Scotland. Based at Lochranza on the Isle of Arran, one of the most beautiful and famous in Scotland which lies off the West Coast between Ayrshire and Kintyre. Arran is a unique island known as ‘Scotland in Miniature’, for it has all of the scenery of Scotland, with mountains and lowlands, glens, lochs and royal castles (including one at Lochranza). Early in the 19th century there were more than 50 whisky distilleries on Arran, most of them illegal and carefully hidden from the eyes of the taxmen. The malt from Arran was shipped to the mainland and enjoyed by the gentry who regularly “took the Arran waters”. It was acclaimed at the time as the best in Scotland, only rivalled by those from the ‘Glen of Livet’. They had found the purest water supply in all of Scotland at Loch na Davie, high in the hills that overlook the village of Lochranza on the North coast of Arran. Arran is washed by the warm waters of the Gulf Stream and enjoys a microclimate – ideal for the speedy maturation of single malt whiskies. As already stated, the Island already enjoyed a reputation for producing top quality – if illegal – whisky.
The colour is deep golden yellow and the bouquet exhibits a pleasant set of initial aromas – think of butterscotch, caramel, sultanas and candied orange peel especially. These are backed up by further lighter aromas including hints of malted cereals, tropical fruits (dried mango in particular), stewed apple and whiffs of cinnamon and ginger spice. On the palate the whisky feels soft and gentle, especially once immediate notes of tangy candied orange and warming wood spices begin to settle. The combination of the two elements is very pleasant and compliment further notes that continue to develop. There is also plenty of butterscotch and toffee present, with hints of burnt caramel and black treacle. Dried fruit is evident and splits in to two distinct characteristics – dark fruits (raisins, sultanas and a hint of dates) and tropical fruits (mango and a hint of pineapple). Background notes of dark chocolate, nuts (especially walnuts and toasted hazelnuts), milky coffee, cinnamon and hints of dried grass and bittersweet malt add further depth and complexity. The finish is of decent length and continues the sweet, dried fruit themes. As these fade the more robust elements – the nutty, malty and wood spice notes in particular – push more to the fore to give a warming and lasting effect.