We’re staying on the Isle of Arran and proceeding with a review for a Arran Premium Sherry Cask #2096. Per it’s namesake this malt is aged exclusively in a sherry cask. Arran’s distillery manager, James MacTaggert occasionally bottles standout sherry casks as a single cask, cask strength limited release. Arran sells these Premium Sherry casks to various retailers throughout Europe and the US. Single cask bottlings are not to be viewed in the same light as proprietary ranges such as the Arran 16. Arran strives to maintain a certain flavor profile for all Arran 16’s by vatting hundreds of casks. They must do this because no two casks of whisky are exactly the same. Since every cask is unique each Premium Cask bottling will have a distinctly special character. Memories from my youth about Pokemon just resurfaced and I suddenly have the urge to “catch ’em all!”
Twice a year these Premium casks are made available to the US market. There is also a separate option for retailers to purchase entire premium casks exclusively and include their store name on the label. This practice is called the Private Cask Program. The Arran Premium Sherry Cask #2096 is bottled at cask strength 52% ABV and was distilled in 1996 and bottled in 2012 so it’s just about 16 years old.
Nose: ripe black cherries, cream soda, raspberry jam, rich sherry notes, crushed purple grapes, Clinton St. Bakery candied bacon
Mouth: tannins, full bodied, red cherry skins, waxy, chewy, hints of oak spice
Finish: wonderful black cherry flavor, hint of spice from oak, well balanced, medium finish
Verdict: This dram has a wonderfully rich sherry nose which boasts a depth of scent (not sure if that’s proper whisky vernacular, but I said it anyways). When you first sniff this whisky ripe black cherries arrive on the forefront, then cream soda, raspberry jam, crushed purple grapes and finally candied bacon from Clinton St. Bakery. I absolutely love the nose and couldn’t get enough of it; it’s mouth watering and enticing. On the palate this whisky is very clean which means the flavors are precise. I mainly got red cherry skins with a hint of oak spice and smokiness. The texture is waxy and you can literally chew on this dram. There is a noticeable tannic quality (think dry wine tongue feeling). A wonderful black cherry finish rounds out a well balanced dram. This is a focused whisky which is all about the red fruits. I enjoyed this and wish to drink more, perhaps I should hunt down a bottle.
Special thanks to Impex Beverages for generously providing a sample.