Both bottles i am about to review belong to the ‘The Icons of Arran Limited Edition’ series of bottling from Arran distillery (which now consists only of those two expressions). I am kind of new to the Arran distillery malts, and reviewed a very limited and special independent bottling of its whisky (The IWS Arran distilled, Jerusalem aged whisky) .
Arran is one of the youngest distilleries in Scotland, opened only in 1995 on the Isle of Arran, and currently offering a few expressions and quite a few wine finishes. The Icons of Arran is a limited edition of bottling from casks chosen yearly by the distillery manager James MacTaggart.
The first bottling is this line of limited editions is the Peacock, which was released last year. It was made by a vatting of 1996 distilled spirit, aged for 12 years in 13 Ex-Bourbon Barrels and 7 Ex-Sherry Hogsheads , which were vatted together, and is Non Chill filtered (as the entire range of Arran spirit) and not colored by Caramel. When released there were only 6,000 bottles available worldwide. The name comes from a real peacock that lives in the distillery grounds…
Arran Peacock 12 yo, released 2009, 46% ABV (not available in shops)
Color : Hay.
Nose: Lemon meringue , vanilla cream, some dough oak and malt. light and fresh.
Palate : Malty , bitter and oily. Orange peel and fruits. Vanilla ice cream notes. The mix of the Bourbon and Sherry casks is good and you can enjoy both worlds without one dominating the other. Good choice of cask there!
Finish : Dry bitter oak and fruit. Medium length finish.
a great summer malt all in all, well-integrated and fresh. I know some people love this one, but i think it’s very good. Not Excellent, but solid. I might have been expecting too much from this one after reading all those great reviews.
The next Icon of Arran i will review is the Arran Rowan tree. This is again a very limited edition consisting of 6000 bottles made from vatting 10 ex-Olorosso Sherry Casks in which the spirit was aged for 12 years (after being distilled in 1997). Again, we’re talking about No chill filtration and natural coloring.I will be interesting to see how this varies from the Peacock with the ex-Olorosso only casks.
Arran rowan tree, released 2010, 46% ABV ,£36.95
Color : Gold.
Nose : Dark chocolate, dry fruit cherries dipped in liquor and some toffee. A very nice mix. Deeper than the summery lighter Peacock.
Palate : Sherry influence is very noticeable. We get the dried fruit salad. Spice ( cinnamon and nutmeg) and that Oloroso sweet fruity spicy tang. Good integration, without ‘over-sherrying’ (is there such a verb??) the Arran malt profile.
Finish : long dry spicy and sweet, Dying on dried fruits oak and chocolate.
This is a much heavier bigger bodied and the extra sherry casks make the difference.
Summing it up:
It’s hard comparing between those two since they are really quite different due to the different casks profile and mixing rations. The Peacock is really lighter, and more of a summer dram in my opinion, a great before dinner dram. The Rowan tree is deeper, heavier on the dried fruits and dark chocolate, and will do very well as an after dinner dram, or something to sip on cooler evenings (that’s how i see it anyways).
If i had to choose, I’d go for the Rowan tree. I know most people love the Peacock and rate it higher, but i have to stray from the common path here, and say that i do, prefer the latter. The chocolate,spice and dried fruit mix is too enchanting to let go for a peacock , however well-integrated. So, Rowan tree it is!
Any Idea what’s the next Icon of Arran will be?
Many thanks to my friend KW of the WhiskyEmporium for those 2 samples.