… Arran 18, however, is available to salve that particular wound. It’s not cheap per se, but it’s one of the few good deals in age-stated 18 year bottlings… when it’s not sold out that is. If you look hard enough (or order internationally – £75 without VAT! – or patiently wait for the market to calm down) you can find a bottle for under…
I love myself a good Sauternes cask finish, and this Arran doesn’t disappoint … aged for 8 years in standard ex-bourbon casks before being transferred to a “selection” of Sauternes casks for an undisclosed amount of time before bottling at a laudable 50% ABV and without chill-filtration or added coloring.
It’s moderately well-balanced, but it’s neither particularly complex nor particularly exciting. It’s also been bottled far too young. Arran die-hard fans would be interested to see what smoking does to their favorite malt, but the rest of us shouldn’t offer more than a shrug.
Good whisky on its own, but in comparison to the 10 year it’s mostly a novelty. This price point means it’s competing with a whole swathe of stand-out malts in the 14-17 age range. This particular bottle just doesn’t stand up to the competition, and probably should be $5 to $10 cheaper.
Great value! You could do a lot worse with $45. The mature lack of bitterness plus interesting tartness in the nose and on the palate is a winning combination. This is the sort of malt that you’ll try as a novelty, and then come back to for its quality.