PM Spirits Arran 23 Year Cognac Cask Finish (1996)

Christmas Countdown 2020 #23: PM Spirits Arran 23 Year Cognac Cask Finish (1996)

Distillery: Arran

Bottler: PM Spirits

Region: Island/France

Age: Label says it is 23 Years of age being Distilled in 1996, Bottled in Summer 2019. This post indicates that it got delayed in bottling and should read 24 years.

ABV: 46.3% Cask Strength (Apparently?)

Cask Type: Finished in First Fill Cognac Casks

Color: 1.3, Russet/Muscat. Natural Color and Un-Chill Filtered.

This is the 23rd installment of this years’ Christmas Countdown. You can see the entire 2020 series here or the 2019 edition here.

Nose: (according to the wife) It smells a lot like Dole Whip, that pineapple flavored soft serve. There’s a little bit of lemon and honey as well as something somewhere between red grapes and red wine vinegar.

Palate: Very oaky and oily from the start. The final maturation in cognac casks is quite noticeable here. It reminds me heavily of a XO cognac I had once, it’s name escapes me. There’s a bit of cigar flavor as well, though without the smoke. It’s deep and earthy, far earthier than any Arran I’ve ever had. With a bit of water, you do get a little bit of fruit in the form of red grapes. There’s a little hint of chocolate and malt.

Finish: Long. There’s an oily residue that lasts for seemingly ever. That smoke-less cigar note lingers as well.

Conclusion: Despite being distilled in Scotland on the Isle of Arran, this whisky is technically not a single malt Scotch whisky as it spent it’s last third or so of it’s life in first fill cognac casks in France. I have to say, it is unlike any Arran I’ve ever had. The nose consists of a lot of classical Arran tropical notes combined with a very interesting something that is between red grapes and red wine vinegar. The cognac cask finish is really evident, you get this very oaky and earthy flavor. That bit of smokeless cigar is nice as is that little bit of chocolate that pops in with some water. It definitely isn’t what I’d expect from an Arran and though it has it’s own merits, I’m not sure I’d want to keep a bottle around.

Final Score: 84.

World Whisky Review #41, “French” Whisky Review #1, Island Review #39, Whisky Network Review #365

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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