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.
Pale copper in colour. This is like entering a woodworker’s shop. A rush of oak greets the senses, with fresh wood shavings and tree resin. Then a zesty character unfolds, with scents of lemon peel and green apples. Brown sugar lends this whisky a warm, sweet temperament. The effects of the quarter cask are obvious here, with The Bothy housing some classic bourbon aromas. The palate is intensely oaky, seasoned with a hefty dose of allspice. The Bothy is quite a punchy, peppery dram, but it’s balanced nicely with Arran’s fruity flavours. Creamy yet alcoholic, this whisky is like fiery shortbread mingled with vanilla custard. There’s a pleasant sweetness throughout, with notes of marzipan and maple syrup. The Bothy is a real whisky tour de force. The finish is warming and powerful, this Arran is a real heavy hitter. The Bothy leaves us with toasted malt and grilled pineapple.