For my first tasting notes on this brand spanking new blog I thought I’d start with a brand spanking new bottle (bottled less than 2 months ago). The below notes are written based on the first 3 drams out of the bottle (spread over 2 evenings).
Arran 17yo 54.0% whiskybroker (WhiskyBase) Distilled 4th of october 1996 Bottled 6th of march 2014 Refill hogshead #1482
The Nose starts off rather dirty, with cardboard and smelly socks. The label says Arran, but I’d believe anyone who tells me this is a Littlemill. Settles down after a few minutes and ditto drops of water on vanilla, caramel, lemon and floral notes. With more water, the floral notes come to the fore, along with some acidity. Given time, the nose settles down into what I can only describe as ‘sophisticated Littlemillness’. Some fragrant wood turns up late, but fashionably so.
In the taste, the initial arrival is rather bitter, with swamp-soil-like peatiness overshadowing all else except perhaps for some vanilla. With water and a little time it opens up nicely, allowing notes of sweet pears and melon, woodsap, white pepper and again caramel to come through.
The finish arrives with an unexpected twist: sultana raisins. Was this perhaps a sherry-hogshead? Also present is a large dose of laurel-liquorice (the small black pellets that stick to your teeth). The finish lingers for a long, long time.
So, overall this is a rather nice example of what a refill cask can do (or not do) to a spirit over seventeen years. The cask influence is there, certainly, but does not in any way overshadow the spirit. The result is a typical Arran (the liquorice is something I find in almost all whiskies from this distillery) with some almost-offnotes which remind me in a positive way of aged Littlemill.
As for a score, I give this whisky 85 points.