I reviewed the younger 10 Year whisky from Arran a few months back, so now it's time for it's elder sibling. I got very lucky and was able to get my hands on these two whiskies for very reasonable prices because the state of Oregon has a bit of a glut of Arran and decided to heavily discount them. The 14 Year runs in the mid-70s most of the time, but has been available for only $50 for the last few months. Unfortunately that comes to an end on March 1st, so if this sounds like a scotch you'd like to try and you live in the NW, I'd suggest picking up a bottle sooner rather than later.
Like the 10 Year, the Arran 14 Year is bottled at 46% without chill filtration, giving is a decent amount of heft and a nice mouth feel. It's somewhat inconsequential, but I have to hand it to the people who do the packaging for Arran. The standing stone motif is a nice touch. It's a very good balance between showy and simple, which lets it stand out on the shelf without overreaching. Nicely done.
Arran 14 Year
Nose: milk chocolate, mint, orange peel, a hint of vegetal peat, malt, a touch of sherry and rum
Taste: a burst of citrus, raspberry and mint up front, which glides into sweet chocolate malt and dark berries mid-palate and back, with allspice, cinnamon, sherry, peat and pepper leading into the finish, which becomes more intensely honey sweet throughout the palate and diminished peat influence after dilution
Finish: honey, bittersweet chocolate malt with slightly bitter peat, dark fruit and black pepper
This is a really excellent whisky. With that said, I think I actually like the Arran 10 Year a bit better. The 14 Year cranks up the sweetness of the 10 Year while losing some of the peat and other Island influence that provided such a nice balance in the 10. If you live in Oregon or can make it here by the end of the month, it's mostly going to be a matter of personal taste. There's only a $10 difference between the two expressions right now. But once March rolls around, the 10 Year will become a much better deal, especially if you order it online.
Croftengea 15, 2002 (SMWS 122.21)
1 hour ago