Thursday, February 23, 2012

Whisky Review: Arran 14 Year

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.


  1. Eek - I DO live in Portland and really liked the Arran 14 I had some time back. But there is only one more day in Feb, and the OLCC doesn't list the Arran as in stock anywhere. Do you happen to know which stores might have it still?

  2. Sylvan, try the store at SE 11th & Hawthorne. Their stock isn't in the OregonLiquorSearch database, but they had a few bottles when last I looked there.

  3. Thanks. 11th Ave was on my short list of stores to call, as they do have one of the larger Scotch selections. Too bad that OregonLiquorSearch can't realize their promise (all the stores seem to have opted out of it's inventory).

  4. The OLCC does need to make sure that there's better coverage and encourage the stores to keep their inventory more up to date. There are precious few advantages to living in a control state, so they should make the most of the ones that do exist.