The Arran Malt Port Cask Finish

Scotch Review #59: The Arran Malt Port Cask Finish

Distillery: Arran

Region: Island

ABV: 50%

Age: NAS

Price: $13.50/2 oz pour during happy hour.

Color: 1.5, Auburn/Polished Mahogany. Un-chillfiltered and no color added.


Nose: It’s sweet, the port does come through a decent amount. There are some berries (mix of them, can’t isolate one) that go along with it which is night. Then there is this weird note of something…sweaty. It’s not the nice sea breeze you get out of a lot of whiskies nor a salt brine…it’s…the distinct sweaty smell of a gym locker room. There’s not a lot of it…but it’s there…

Palate: As she was pouring this dram, the bartender said this had a bit of “oompf” and I don’t know of a better way to describe it beyond that. It’s rich and beefy with a full mouthfeel. There are some nutty notes in the form of hazelnuts along with more berries and salted caramel apple. With a bit of water, there’s more of the berries (reminds me of the filling of a berry tart) and a bit less beefiness.

Finish: Medium in length. A bit of balsamic vinegar, some wood spices, some tannins, and a little too much salt. A bit hot as well.

Conclusion: Non-sherry wine cask finished scotches are something I haven’t had a lot of but something I’m interested in. For the most part, I really enjoyed this one. The mixed berries in the nose and the palate are delicious. The beefiness in the palate, while different, goes well with the hazelnuts and salted caramel apple. The finish is a little on the bitter end due to the balsamic and tannins but not bad overall. Then there is that weird note of…a stinky gym locker room. Since this is an Island scotch, I expected a bit of sea water/brine and usually I look forward to those notes. In this one though, its not that lovely smell you get standing by the sea…and I can’t say I enjoyed it at all. Thankfully, a bit of water seems to break it up otherwise it might have ruined the dram for me. Would I buy a bottle? Maybe, I did enjoy most of it. This pour was out of an almost full bottle so maybe a little time to oxidize will temper down the sweat.

Final Score: 80.

Scotch whisky review #59, Island review #8, Whisky Network Review #78


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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