Southern California Whisky Club will be having not ONE but TWO representatives from TWO different distilleries in Scotland hanging out with us on Thursday April 2, 2015. We will be welcoming James Wills from Kilchoman Distillery and Louisa Young from Arran Distillery for a get together at the Daily Pint.
This is not a formal tasting, but a casual event where the goal is maximize the one-on-one time that our members get to spend with both James and Louisa.
Included in the event will be a flight of 6 whiskies as well as 2 different scotch cocktails: A Kil-Roy (barrel aged Rob Roy made with Kilchoman) and an Arran Punch.
Let’s loosen the collars, hang out as a club and welcome these two into sunny California.
Kilchoman 4yo – first fill bourbon barrel, Single Cask, Cask Strength
Laphroaig 6yo – refill bourbon hogshead, Single Cask, Cask Strength
Details on the events (click the image to view/download a PDF of the event flyer):
Date:Sunday, June 30th Time:6:30pm – 9:30pm Address:1101 Camino Real, Redondo Beach, CA Modest cost for the event:$40 Contact for tickets:Lee Zaro or Aaron Krouse, firstname.lastname@example.org What else comes with the tasting event other than fantastic Scotch whisky from Single Cask Nation:Hors d’oeuvres, fun, education, raffles for Single Cask Nation membership (and more). Not party hats, sorry.
Special thanks to LZ and AK for setting up this great event and thanks, too, to Temple Menorah for having us!
This sample was sort of an out of the blue one for me. The good folks at ImpEx sent me the sample suggesting that I might be interested in reviewing it.
I knew that Arran had a line of “Premium” Sherry and Bourbon casks but this is the first I saw where they bottled one for a specific store. This practice may be new, it may not be new. Here we have it though, a single premium sherry cask for The Whisky Shop in San Francisco.
I’ve heard of The Whisky Shop but have never shopped there before.
Like Binny’s, Julio’s and a few others, The Whisky Shop has a reputation for being experts in all things whisk(e)y.
I am curious to taste this one, for sure. Thanks to the good folks at ImpEx for sending me a sample!
Color – Muscato wine (I only mention the color as it seems light for a 16yo sherry single cask)
On the nose – Obviously sherried but no *heavy* sherry notes, I wonder if this is a 2nd fill cask. Either way, it’s smelling quite nice.
Let’s run down the list of scent, shall we?
Candied bacon and the smell of the taste of iodized salt. Cola with a side of Black pu’er tea. I need to point out something I’m not getting, something I normally get with Arran malts: Apples. No sign of that apple sweetness.
Fried dates; more gristle, less dates.
Wait a second!! Wait a *BIG* second! Apple cider vinegar becomes very evident. I am rewarded for my patience.
On the mouth – Fresh apples, bright fruits. Very forward, sweet and bright. This is almost like a high-octane dessert wine (ice wine).
Green grape skins and grape flesh (I know, a long-winded way of saying “grapes”).
Very fizzy along the tongue but a wonderful, even mouthfeel all around.
Some coastal notes as well. Really enjoyable.
Finish – Long and filled with that lovely apple cider vinegar I got on the nose.
In sum – In all honestly, to me, this is not something that those that like sherried whiskies would seek out (as a heavily sherried whisky). However, this is one of the more delicious Arran’s I had (single cask or standard bottling).
Highly recommended, dear people. This is a perfect after dinner drink. Serve in place of dessert wine. The perfect night cap!
So as to keep this post clean and more focused, I will try to do less talking and more reviewing.
There is one thing, however, that I need to point out regarding these two Arrans (as well as say the Devil’s Punch Bowl and more to come):
As you likely know, what’s being reviewed today are really special release whiskies from Arran. In years past, all of the special releases were reserved for the UK and other countries. Basically countries that would accept the standard 70cl (700ml) bottle. The one we here in the US of A will not accept. Here in the US, the 75cl (750ml) bottle is king.
Something happened, however, just over a year ago. Arran changed importers. I’m not really sure who they were with previously but for more than a year now, ImpEx has been importing Arran whiskies.
Disclaimer: It’s no secret that I have a little bit of a relationship with ImpEx. I announced that here. I’m not employed by them but I have poured their stuff before at events and I review the whisky samples they send me (like the ones below). I just wanted to put that out there before I spout on about them more…
ImpEx knows whisky. What’s more is, I think, they have their finger on the pulse of the US market and what the US market wants. The world is becoming a much smaller place, what with things like the interwebs and such and because of this (and other factors, to be sure), American whisky drinkers want what the rest of the world gets. We don’t want to be left out. I know I sure don’t…
This said, ImpEx seems to have made a point of working with Arran to bring in special casks, limited editions, etc… into the US. This is not a simple task as it’s likely easier for Arran to work with the 70cl bottle for these smaller runs/limited editions.
So, kudos to ImpEx for fighting for us American Scotch whisky lovers! Keep up the good work bringing over more limited hooch!
Wow, I carried on way longer than expected. Let’s review, shall we?
Islands region – 51.1%ABV – SherryCask #1979 – $130 (soon to hit US shelves)
On the nose – Chocolate covered espresso beans, heavy wood spice (Cocobolo wood to be specific).
Dark, damp wood shavings and a slight touch of gun powder.
This is a funny and insanely delicious smelling big bear of a whisky.
Some heavy cola notes.
On the mouth – Nose to palate, the same story is delivered. Starting off with the damp, dark wood but right behind it we find the espresso beans and chocolate.
Exotic wood spice becomes quite present.
Drying with leather toward the end as we get to the finish.
Finish – Long, drying with spice and leather strips.
In sum – This 16yo drinks more like a fully realized 25+ year old whisky. A fine choice of cask. Well worth your precious time.
Islands region – 52%ABV – SherryCask #2096 – $130 (soon to hit US shelves)
On the nose – This reeks of what I love about Arran: A forward pungency, bruised apple and a touch of brown spices.
This is a heavy style Ex-Bourbon whisky, not typical of most XB matured whiskies but similar to these XB Arran’s as they get older and older.
There’s something deep, dark and dang in here. I’m thinking fig cakes and more bruised fruit (in the form of strawberries this time).
Strawberry jam over butter cookies.
On the mouth – A bit shy/elusive upon first sip. Not as forceful in flavor as the nose suggested.
Actually, very light in flavor. The nose fooled me.
Initial thoughts: buttered water crackers; baked phyllo dough covered in quite rich butter.
Paraffin wax, light viscosity. Just a touch of sour apple slices.
Finish – Spice, pepper and milk chocolate, medium finish.
In sum – As Arran single casks go, this one delivers like an SOB on the nose. A bit disjointed from the palate but the finish helps to turn things around making the over all experience a fun little ride. I’d say this is an aperitif whisky. Have it on it’s own so that you’re able to experience all it has to offer.