A 9yo Arran (SMWS 121.50)

The whisky I’m reviewing today is a 9yo single cask Arran by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society named “Xmas cake and Afgan coats”.  There is one minor problem with this whisky though: You can’t buy it anymore!

One of the charming joys of single cask whisky is that once it’s gone, it’s gone. And this, my friends, is gone. I got to taste some courtesy of Tom Thomson, author of excellent tasting notes at http://www.tomswhiskyreviews.com/ (I will soon get the hang of posting proper links, but I’ve not worked out how to incorporate html code in these). Any how, go to his site and ready some of his reviews. Particularly if you are thinking of buying Jura.

So, the obvious question is, why am I reviewing a whisky that you can’t buy, and, more importantly, why should you read it? Well firstly, it is interesting to review single cask whisky from SMWS. If you are not a member, it might give you insight into the quality of drams I’ve tasted. Secondly, it is relevant to review single cask Arran. Though all casks are different, it might give some idea of what to expect, even if only loosely.

So, without further ado, here are the dramstats:

SMWS 121.50 Xmas cake and Afgan coats

  • ABV 61.3%
  • Cask type: Sherry
  • Age 9

Nose: Big raisins and sultanas soaked in sherry. The edge of a slightly singed christmas cake. Toasted almonds, Cadbury’s picnic bars, heated fruit and nut milka, stewed plums. Water brings raspberry cooli on vanilla cheesecake.

Palate: A real fruit blast with strawberries, stewed plums, neat blackcurrant cordial, and alcohol burn. Water develops the christmas cake note but it morphs mid-taste into sara lee blackcurrant cheese cake.

Finish: Lots of red fruit, black fruit gums, sour strawbs.

Verdict: This is really reminds me of the Aberlour A’bunah. For me, a fantastic sherried whisky with wave upon wave of fresh red fruit. I can’t believe it is only 9 years old as it doesn’t have a young bone in its body. Obviously I can’t recommend this as it’s not available, but I can tell you what I took from it. Whisky under 10 years old can be excellent, and it doesn’t have to be peated for that to be true. I’ll be tasting more Arran, and I may catch a young bottle or two from the SMWS in the future.



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