Monday, 28 April 2014

Arran - Robert Burns Single Malt - Review

Right from the off I'll come clean and admit that, until trying this bottle, I had very little experience of this up and coming distillery but when I took a post Christmas trip into a local retailer, and found this on sale for a fraction over £20, I thought this would be the perfect introduction into Arran.

Located in Lochranza, Scotland, Arran distillery is the only distillery on the island of Arran.  It was founded in 1994 and the distillery opened it's doors in 1995.

They have a good core range boasting 10, 12, 14 and 16 year old single malts along with a host of "finished" bottlings.  Add in a number of blends, and a cream liqueur, and you can see that they have quite the selection to choose from.

The Arran Distillery is also a patron of the World Burns Federation and as such has created this Robert Burns Single Malt and a Robert Burns Blended Whisky in honour of Scotland's National Poet. They are the only whisky distillery to be able to use the image and signature of Robert Burns on their packaging.

The Robert Burns Single Malt is a "no age statement" whisky, bottled at 43% ABV with no artificial colouring while the blurb, on the back of the packaging, states that this is "smooth, malty and sweet with a delicious spicy twist on the finish."

Now for my own notes:

Nose - Lovely, light grassy notes giving way to lemon drops and gentle milk chocolate orange.  Light vanilla biscuits.  Gradually light malt arrives.  A peppery spice keeps the nose sharp and warm.

Palate - Initially the palate is one of a youthful heat / chilli but the fresh citrus, from the nose, sits nicely in the background.  We also have sweet malt and an evident amount of good quality oak.  When held in the mouth until the heat dissipates you are left with a fresh fruit explosion.

Finish - Fresh apple and pear, sweet malt and light warming pepper.

All in all this is probably one of the better malts in my collection, taking into account how much it cost.  Undeniably young but has bags of quality from the spirit, and also from casks used, to back up my first impression that this indeed was a great introduction to the ever increasing reputation of Arran Distillery.

Until next time,



Friday, 4 April 2014

Teeling Whiskey Company - Tweet Tasting - Review

Towards the end of last month the Celtic Whiskey Club, again, took to the world of Twitter to host a rather special tweet tasting.  This was done in conjunction with The Teeling Whiskey Company as they provided 3 unreleased drams for our enjoyment and consideration.  Teeling Whiskey joined in with the tweet tasting to gauge the feedback as the drams they had provided are potential future releases.

Absolutely nothing was given away prior to the event apart from info on the sample bottles advising all participants that each dram was a single malt.  On the night itself, though, some more info was given away by Teeling's Alex Chasko who informed us that each sample was 46% ABV, non-chill filtered and without caramel colouring.  

We were also told that each was a "no age statement" whiskey.

Onto each sample:

Sample "A" - Alex gave some guidance that this sample had malt from a red wine cask.

Nose - Very light, fresh and summery.  Green apple, cut wet grass, light vanilla and a butter note.  Bags of light citrus lemon zing and with water the whole event became even more fresh and crisp.

Palate - Again, clean, fresh and light.  Fresh white fruit with focus on green apple and light pear.  Citrus fizz with some light pepper and clove.  Sweetness appears and with water the clean fruit dominates.  (My notes read "This is a dram for a boiling hot day")

Finish - Honestly?  Short with fresh cut apple and light spice.

As stated this is a summer dram with heaps of youthful exuberance in the glass

Sample "B" - Was introduced as having similar casks as were used with sample "A"

Nose - The introduction, for me, could not have been more wrong as this was a totally different experience.  Sweet, red apple, red fruit, hints of banana, blackcurrant cordial and with time a lovely dusty note arrives.  This reminded me very much of the "Celtic Cask Se" I reviewed a while back… the tasting came to an end this became like buttered popcorn and continued to evolve in the glass.

Palate - Huge, massive, enormous red fruit!!  Strawberry jam, more blackcurrant and extremely juicy.  The dustiness is still in the background in the form of old oak wood but this is perfectly delicious and adds a touch of spice.  With water the red fruit really takes over.

Finish - Lingering red fruit and spice.

This is delicious with a juicy red fruit intensity and evolves all the time to bring more and more to the senses.  FANTASTIC.

Sample "C" - This was billed as having some "very old crystal malt".  BOOM!!!  This, in my eyes, can only mean one thing - BUSHMILLS!!

Nose - This initially struck me as having a very mineral sense about it with also some salt showing through.  The blackcurrant was here, as with sample "B" and again had a feeling of the "Celtic Cask Se".  If I had to pick two of these that were from the same casks it would be "B" and "C", not "B" and "A" but hey, what do I know?  The nose continued with red fruits and a fresh coastal note.  It also managed to show a light(ish) note in the form of lemon and light orange.

Palate - Still coastal and salty with red fruit although now I could sense some clove spice, sweet malt  which combined with the salt to make salted caramel.

Finish - In my opinion this was so similar to sample "B" but slightly shorter with a touch less spice.

This was also an amazing dram with so much going on.

After we had finished the samples we were asked to pick a favourite and to be honest I think if I was asked the same question every day you would get a different answer every day.  Each of these whiskies had it's own personality and each had it's own qualities.  

Sample "A" was the light, fresh youngster, sample "B" the complex gem that just keeps giving and sample "C" was close to sample "B" but with this whole new coastal, salty, mineral side that took you in a whole new direction.

On the night, though, we had to pick one and, after a last minute change of mind, I went for sample "B".  

It really had depths to it that I though were truly amazing but to be fair to the others Teeling have done an unbelievable job in the production of all of these whiskies.  I truly think that they could release all three and each would reach the heights.

All that is left is to thank The Celtic Whiskey Club and The Teeling Whiskey Company for the chance to be part of this amazing tasting and try some drams that have yet to be seen.  AWESOME STUFF.

As before I've added the links to The Celtic Whiskey Club and The Teeling Whiskey Company at the bottom and I wholeheartedly recommend that you pop along and see what these two have to offer.

Until next time,



Teeling Whiskey Company -