Review: Arran 10

Back in 2019 Arran announced their new style of bottles, which is a well thought out piece of art in its own right. The ripples at the top op the bottle represent the cascading waters of Loch na Davie, the water source of the Arran Distillery. The label has a natural look to it that keeps simplicity at its core, directing your attention towards the liquid instead. And last, but not least, it’s one of the few brands that include braille on their labels. But thankfully, it’s not just the new bottle that is well thought out. This Arran 10 is an outstanding dram in its own right!

When I bought my first bottle of Arran 10 years old, I immediately fell in love with it. It’s a delicious whisky, with amazing value. For less than 35 euro you get an un-chillfiltered, natural colour, banger of a whisky. And it comes as no surprise to me that it was represented (and won prices) at the OSWA’s two years in a row. Having so much going for it, I figured it was high time I shared my personal tasting notes on this dram.

Tasting Notes: Arran 10 Years Old
Stats:

ABV: 46% (92 proof)

Age: 10 years old

Distillery: Arran Distillery

Owned by: Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd

Category: Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Awards: International Wine & Spirit Competition Gold (2018, 2019); World Whisky Awards Gold (2014, 2018); International Spirits Challenge Silver (2014); OSWA Best Entry Level Single Malt (2021, 2022); OSWA Best Single Malt Whisky (2021)

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Setting:

It’s Friday afternoon, which means we can start to celebrate the weekend. For this Friday I decided to do just that with one of my personal favourites: the Arran 10! I went for a stroll through the polder, while ferocious winds were attempting to rip my coat apart. Which made it even more pleasant to arrive back home and pour myself a wee warming dram. I poured the Arran 10 neat into my Glencairn, opened my laptop, and found myself set to go.

Nose:

There are plenty of sweet notes available straight of the bat. Tropical fruits are the most dominant of the bunch, with pineapple, mango, and coconut joining hands to deliver you a full-bodied nose. Behind these “heavier” notes there are some lighter ones hiding as well. I’m getting hints of apple and some biscuits. Which reminds me of dunking my biscuits in a cup of fruit tea as a child. There are some hints of freshly cut grass in this dram as well, which made it seem fitting to place the bottle amongst the farm fields when I took the picture. Water reveals some sugar cane and an ever so slight white wine note. And it turns the nose from full-bodied to rather delicate. Still beautiful though.

Palate:

On the palate the first notes I’m getting are once again those tropical fruits that I also found on the nose. Coconut becomes the most apparent of the three here though. It has an oily mouthfeel, that shows quite a bit more bite than I would expect at 46 percent ABV. And on the back of the tongue some tannins start to appear as well, giving me a sense similar to chewing on a piece of wood. These harsher notes are balanced out by a whisper of honey, that dulls the edges quite nicely. I’m also finding a black tea note and some liquorice root. Which reminds me of the tea my grandfather always used to make. Water dulls most of the tropical fruit and brings forth a slight peppery note instead. Crushed black pepper corns and a biscuits take centre place now.

Finish:

The finish is long, and the liquorice root becomes very present here. This is the first part of the dram where I’m not finding much tropical fruit notes. Instead the liquorice root combines with honey and some of the tannins that I mentioned on the palate as well. This time around the influence of the tannins is dulled pleasantly, where I found them to be a bit harsh before. Right near the end of the finish I also start detecting some apples, granny smith’s to be precise. The finish remains long even after adding some water to the dram. Liquorice is still this dram’s main focal point, but it does start to nudge more towards a salmiak variant this time around.

Verdict:

I strongly believe that this Arran 10 is one of the best “bang for your buck” drams out there at the moment. For less than 35 euro it has everything you’re looking for and over the years I’ve found it to be a crowd pleaser amongst a wide range of friends and family. Its tropical flavours combined with the liquorice notes give this whisky a profile that makes it suitable to enjoy the year round and its ABV of 46% leaves enough room to play around a with a drop of water or two. I do find the tannin notes a bit too harsh for my liking from time to time, which stops me from giving this one an absolute top rating. But for its pricepoint I don’t think I could point out another dram that’s worth your money more.

Rating:

88/100

Value:

A

Click here to learn more about how I come up with my tasting notes and how I determine rating and value.

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