"Having long been possessed with an ardent desire to see the Distilleries of Scotland...", Alfred Barnard, 1885

"O Thou, my muse! guid auld Scotch drink", from Scotch Drink, by Robert Burns

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Arran 14yo launch

Slight detour from my trip today but for a very good reason.  I'm back into Glasgow for the world launch of Arran's latest.  Their delightful spirit has now been resting for 14 years and they are bringing the first cask of their 14yo Single Malt to Òran Mór in Glasgow tonight.

In a throwback to the days of yore, and remembering Arran's long tradition of whisky production, the distillery are bringing the cask by boat from Lochranza to Glasgow Quay. Then, in a scene that Barnard would not have blinked an eye at nor took a photo of on his Sony Cybershot, the cask will be transported to the bar by horse and cart, there to be cracked open for the assembled worshippers.

Horse and cart deliveries were the norm when Barnard visited Glasgow, transporting casks by boat and barge also common sights; organising a world launch via Facebook invites a mystery.  I wonder how Barnard even organised some of his distillery visits, telephones still being thin on the ground in the 1880s.

Anyhow, back to the Barnard trail tomorrow, suitably refreshed after tonight I expect.  I hope to provide an insite into new discoveries regarding the old Tambowie Distillery, plus a quiet journey across southern Renfrewshire.  And then there's Whisky Fringe in Edinburgh to look forward to this weekend. Oh boy!

James and Euan with the Arran 14
Update - great sample of the Arran 14 yo then. Kudos to Euan for carrying that wee cask not once, but twice round the Oràn Mor last night. Deserved a dram so he did. Anyway, some people asking for tasting notes, so aside from telling you to try it yourself at Whisky Fringe (oh yes, it will be there, along with the new Arran cask finishes), here goes my first sampling note of the tour:

Bottled at 46%, ncf, bright copper colour.
Nose - the Arran notes are there, vanilla, some fruit, orangey, or more mandarin like, and banana or is it just a shadow of old wood mustiness there in the background, like you get in many 20-30 yo whiskies? Maybe.
Palate - spicy and salty to start, cinnamon and nutmeg, the mandarin is still there with a touch of mellon. Good round mouthfeel.
Finish - stays in the mouth a short while, nothing deeper though. The mellon grows to dominate later in the dram, holding off the sea spray.
Overall - I was too busy picking out flavours to remember to try it with water. That fruit stays around for a wee while along with the salty tang at the front of the mouth. Despite that early hint of mustiness there is also something, um, young about this dram. Some people maybe expecting a real big hit from this, given the progression of the Arran, but its maybe flattened out the curve a bit now. Arran are aiming for 10, 14 and 18yo as their core range in time, not sure the 14 will hold off the popularity of the 10 though. But I need to try it again at the weekend, with water this time (please remind me).