It may seem obvious what I am going to say next, coming from a monothematic blog like this. But I have a few small obsessions. And it’s not whisky, because whisky is such a big obsession that the Khan once found a bottle of whisky in the bathroom cabinet next to the mouthwash, because there was nowhere else to put it at home.
No. They are small, almost imperceptible obsessions, but they overwhelm me completely when awaken. One is the number of underwear I put in my suitcase for travel. It has to be about three a day at the very least. I know one or two is enough, but something deep down, inside me, me always says, “hey man, put some more. Ten for two days days won’t do“.
Another is mustard. I love mustard. I can’t go to the supermarket without buying at least one little bottle of mustard, even though I don’t need it. If one day in an angelic supermarket I would have to choose between the best mustard of the universe and everlasting life, I would pick the mustard. I would instantly die clinging to it.
And there is an even more serious situation when a small obsession meets a big one. Whiskies. Port wine. Whiskies aged in port wine barrels. I am unable to see one and resist. And I always love them. Laphroaig Brodir, Kilchoman Port Cask, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, Bowmore Vintner’s Trilogy 27 years old. And the newcomer to Brazil, Arran Port Cask Finish.
Arran Port Cask Finish is just what its name implies. A single malt matured for approximately eight years in ex-bourbon American oak barrels, and finished in European oak barrels that once held port wine. Arran does not disclose exactly the time of the finish, nor the type of port wine used.
Arran Port Cask Finish, like all Arran, is unchill-filtered, and its color – a strikingly beautiful ruby color – is natural. No E150 here. And its alcohol strength is quite generous too- 50%. Despite its strength, it is not an agressive malt – despite a certain underlying peppery flavor.
In fact, there’s something I should note. While doing my homework for this post, I noticed that many sources suggested tasting Arran Port Cask Finish by adding some water. According to such sources, the high alcohol content hid its most discreet flavors. Although I agree with the practice,my humble opinion is that Arran Port Cask Finish offers a very complex sensory experience even in its natural alcoholic strength. Adding water will reduce the peppery finish, but it will not make it more complex.
Arran is a fairly young distillery. It was founded in 1995, and their first single malt was released in 1998. Since then, the portfolio has expanded incredibly. Currently, there are more than ten expressions. There are whiskies of a certain age – 10, 14, 18 years. And also some NAS, like Lochranza Reserve. There is also a peated range – Machrie Moor – and one with special finishes, of which Port Cask Finish, launched in 2010, is part.
If you – like me – can’t resist a whisky finished in port wine barrels, or if you’re looking for a sweet, fruity but very distinctive personality malt, I recommend trying Arran Port Cask Finish. Or rather not. On second thought, don’t even try Arran Port Cask Finish. Better not risk it – you will create a new obsession.
ARRAN PORT CASK FINISH
Type: No Age Statement Single Malt (NAS)
Region: Higlands (Islands)
Aroma: Very fruity. Red fruits. Fig, vanilla.
Palate: Fruity and very intense. Red fruits, sugar syrup. Very spicy, especially at the finish. Long and intense.
With water: Water makes the whisky less spicy, and intensifies the fruity finish.