Review: Machrie Moor 10

You wouldn’t believe it if you look outside your window today in The Netherlands… but spring is upon us! And instead of a spring cleaning, in my household that means it’s time for a spring “trimming” of the dogs (Max & Faye). Being Labradoodles means they don’t lose any hair at all, and they managed to grow quite the copious amount of fur during the past winter. Having two hairy monsters running around means the trimming is quite a lot of work. To treat myself afterwards I chose a dog-themed dram for today’s Whisky Wednesday. The Machrie Moor 10.

Machrie Moor is a peat bog on Arran, a name that the Arran distillery borrows for some of their peated offerings. One of the stone circles in this bog is known as Fingal’s Cauldron Seat, Fingal’s favourite dog “Bran” was said to be tethered there. With their Machrie Moor bottlings Arran wants us to “unleash the legend that is Machrie Moor” and as symbolism they depicted Bran on their labels. Let’s find out if this Machrie Moor 10 is as legendary as Max & Faye’s winter hairdo!

Tasting Notes: Machrie Moor 10
Stats:

ABV: 46% (92 proof)

Age: 10 years old

Distillery: Arran

Owned by: Isle of Arran Distillers Ltd (independent)

Category: Island Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Chill-Filtered: No

Natural Colour: Yes

Setting:

It’s finally spring, though it doesn’t quite feel like it when I look outside. After trimming the dogs, I wanted to take them for a long walk, but they had one look outside and walked back to the living room. I couldn’t really blame them though, because who wants to go outside in the rain when you’ve just taken your coat off? I decided to wait for the rain to pass while enjoying a wee Whisky Wednesday dram. I poured my sample of Machrie Moor 10 neat into a Glencairn and started writing.

Nose:

While I was letting the dram rest in the glass for a few minutes, the scent of peat already came pouring off the top of the glass. Strangely enough though, I picked up more fruity flavours than I did peat once I started nosing this dram. There’s some peat there, but it’s a vegetal type of peat. Not the medicinal kind we know from Islay or the “wood-fire” peat from Talisker for example. If anything, I find the smell most reminiscent of moss. I’m also picking up on some apples, vanilla, and raisins. It makes for quite the fruity nose on this dram. Adding water doesn’t seem to influence the nose of this dram.

Palate:

On the palate apple notes immediately come forward, paired with a light sprinkling of white pepper. Behind that initial hit of peppered apple, I’m finding a mouth-watering fudge note, that comes eerily close to the real thing. A little bit of oak and liquorice root give a delicate bitter note to the dram, which adds a nicely balanced out layer to the whisky.  Water makes the pepper I was finding before much more pronounced. And the bitterness of the oak gets turned up a notch as well. I personally much preferred it at its original 46%.

Finish:

On the finish the fudge turns into white chocolate. Nougat and walnuts appear here as well, and a trickle of honeyed vanilla custard tops it all off. Sadly, the finish doesn’t last all that long, but for as long as it sticks around it’s a nice bonus to an already pleasant dram. The finish does get a nice boost in length from adding water, but it turns the flavours dark here as well as it did on the palate. The walnuts remain, but most of the nougat and white chocolate disappears. A real shame if you’d ask me.

Verdict:

This Machrie Moor took me completely by surprise. From the initial scents coming off the glass I would have expected to be dealing with a major “peat-bomb”. But instead, I’m finding a light and pleasant fruity dram, with just a mere hint of peat. What I love about this dram though is the journey it takes you on. The flavours change throughout the experience, starting with moss and ending with honeyed vanilla custard. It hits so much more than just the one note.

For the 65 euro this 10-year-old Machrie Moor goes for in The Netherlands, I do find it rather steep. Especially considering how competitively priced the core range of Arran is. I don’t think I will pick this up over a Port Charlotte 10 for example, which can be had for roughly 55 euro. Still, I enjoyed the time I spent with this dram, and it is an exciting dram as its flavours like to take you by surprise. I can recommend giving this a try if you’re into lightly peated whiskies.

Rating:

86/100

Value:

C-

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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