Whisky Review – The Arran – Amarone Wine Finish @arranwhisky

The Arran – Amarone Wine Finish

50% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£50.15 from Master of Malt

Colour. 

I don’t usually concentrate on colour, but on this occasion! Pinksky!

Nose. 

Lots of complex red fruits and some dunnage on the first sniff. Subsequent sniffs give chocolate, milky and mouthwatering. Dried raspberry and some malty cereal reminding me of Special K with red berries (It’s a breakfast cereal in the uk!). A little time in the glass and more varied fruits come forward, a little orange rind, more sumptuous red berries, a gentle background pepper, lots of chocolate powder, and some rum soaked sponge cake. Now I’m thinking about trifle!

Palate. 

Sweet and thick arrival, very fruity, tonnes of buckets of fruit, lots of red berries, grapes all ripe and fit for the picking. Strawberry & raspberry pie filling, with a touch of sweetened rhubarb. There’s a little prickle of ginger, and a touch of cinnamon. The mouthfeel is suitably thick and viscous. There’s a backing of good old bourbon maturation with some soft vanilla and custard. Damn this is moreish, highly sip-able. 

Finish. 

Medium length, the fruit and dusty cask continues through, with a little white chocolate coming into play at the last minute. Lovely. 

Adding water. 

Small drop added. The nose is a little lighter, more dusting chocolate, more vanilla, a touch of floral. Some of the red fruits have subsided. The palate still has mountains of fruit, now more integrated with the vanilla infused custard, and now with a touch of nuttiness. Slightly lighter on the mouthfeel. The finish is slightly spicier, more vanilla, but less creamy and slightly shorter. I much prefer this dram undiluted. 

Conclusion. 

This is an absolutely delicious fruity bomb of a whisky. It’s definitely got a lot of influence from the wine cask, and I personally love that style, so this works very well for me, and I can happily sip this for the duration and then some. Bottle on the shopping list for me!

Thanks to Arran for the official review sample. 

Whisky Review – Benriach Peated Cask Strength Batch 1. @TheBenriach

Benriach Peated Cask Strength Batch 1

56% ABV

Non chill filtered

No added colouring

£58.84 from Master of Malt

Nose. 

First sniff and we have light bonfire smoke, creamy barley, ground cumin and a touch of citrus in the background. Will let it sit for a bit… considering the high ABV you can get your nose in there, it’s not massively abrasive in the nasal capacity. Little time in the glass and we have meatier notes coming through now, some BBQ ribs, a little crusty steak, still nicely smoky, smelled blind you would never think Speyside. The creamy barley has changed to a richer, runny caramel, slightly salted, reminding me of Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel chocs. Yummy. Touches of ginger and cinnamon in the far background. Lovely start. 

Palate. 

Arrival is dry and earthy, with a punchy pepper, borderline chilli spice. There’s a creamy vanilla ice bun topping amongst the punch of the ABV, which isn’t as hot as I expected. Mouthfeel is oily and fits very well. Very smoky throughout with small sips going a very long way, packed with intensity. Slightly astringency in the development, with a touch of sour lemon and bitter chocolate, then becoming creamy again, with rich and spicy vanilla.

Finish. 

Medium to long in length, spicy warmth, earthy, smouldering bonfire and slightly sweet, creamy custard. 

Adding water. 

A splash added. The nose has got sweeter, more caramel, some white chocolate, the smoke has become less intense, more mossy, a wet bonfire smoke. The palate is quieter on the spices now, still an intense smoke, lots of creamy vanilla, a touch of soft fruits (apricot, peach), lots more sweetness now, quite lip smacking, with lots of sugar rich sweeties. The finish has less Spice, more sweetness, still smoky and delicious. It’s a dram of two halves, I prefer with a splash of water, but it works very well (albeit more heat) neat as well. 

Conclusion. 

Much peatier than the quarter cask variant and really benefits from the extra ABV. This is, in my opinion, better than the quarter cask. It’s smoky, swims well, sips are compulsory and beautiful. 

Many thanks to Benriach for the review sample