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KWM 2023 Whisky Calendar Blog Day 9 - Arran 2013 KWM Cask

Posted on December 9, 2023

by Evan

Arran Whisky is a long-time favourite for us at Kensington Wine Market and many others in Alberta and Canada as well.

Going by my own faulty memory - Arran has been sold in Alberta since around 2003 or 2004. I was introduced to Scotch for the first time back in 2002 and immediately fell in love and started going to tastings and festivals. This is probably why Arran is so near and dear to my own heart. It feels like the distillery’s own evolution in whisky somehow mirrors my own personal growth and experience with whisky.


The Still Room at Arran's Lochranza Distillery

Arran started distilling and then releasing their first bottles at a fortuitous time both within Alberta and within the Scotch Industry as a whole: Alberta was in the midst of its economic boom. The province had also had privatized liquor stores (such as Kensington Wine Market) for a decade at this point and seen a large jump in the amount of available whisky available to new enthusiasts such as myself.

The Scotch Industry was also starting to see a much-needed boost in sales and was entering a boom of its own. Part of this was a new generation of drinkers turning their backs on that boring, intentionally flavourless alcohol known as vodka and looking for more interesting libations. The other part had to do with emerging markets of China, India, and Russia and the new middle class (and luxury class) that had opened up overseas.

The Isle of Arran has seen quite a few changes over the last three 25 years, at least when it comes to whisky. In 1995, just outside of Lochranza which is located at the northern tip of the island, the Isle of Arran's first legal distillery in over a century opened. Now we are in 2019 and a second distillery has just opened on the island, this time at its southern edge in a town called Lagg.

Lochranza Castle on the Isle of Arran

The Arran Lochranza distillery has always focused on distilling unpeated malt, with limited forays into peated malt happening during only a very small amount of its operation. The Lagg Distillery, which is also owned by Isle of Arran Distillers, is heading into much more peated territory, making a burly, heavily peated new make spirit that comes off very earthy, fruity, and even mezcal-like in style. Islay lovers will have to keep an eye out for future releases from Lagg once it has whisky more to release.

Back to this bottle in front of us: This single cask of Arran is the 13th we have selected from the distillery to be bottled exclusively for Kensington Wine Market. It is the first whisky we have picked from the distillery that comes from an ex-Sherry Butt. What does that mean? Well, it means more bottles for us to sell for one thing – 516 total bottles of this Arran specifically. Quite a bit more than the 180- to 220-ish bottles we received of any previous Arran KWM Cask. Most of our past Arran picks have been whisky matured in hogsheads, which are 250 litres in volume. A Butt is around 500 litres in volume. Therefore, your typical Butt holds twice as much liquid as a Hogshead.

Studies also show that Butts exhibit an exponential increase in crude anatomical jokes and innuendo per litre versus Hogsheads. We are all for this at Kensington Wine Market. To paraphrase the legendary bard and beknighted Sir Mixalot: We like big Butts, and we cannot lie.

Okay, I am done. I’ll see myself out, soon. But first: Let’s try this whisky!

Evan’s Tasting Note

Nose: Christmas cake, toffee, raisins, gingerbread, orange peel oils, date squares, roasted almonds and peanuts, and a touch of cinnamon.

Palate: Oily, spicy, mouth-coating, and sweet with more toffee, milk chocolate, raisins, ginger, mulled apple cider, strawberry jam, and hazelnuts.

Finish: Long and sweet with plenty of butterscotch and fruit sticking around.

Comment: It’s a festive holiday dram! I would usually worry about saying that about a whisky in case, we are still selling it in the summertime. Arran always makes me feel festive, though.

Cheers,
Evan
[email protected]
Facebook & Instagram: @sagelikefool

You can find all blog posts for Kensington Wine Market’s 2023 Whisky Calendar Here

This entry was posted in Whisky, Whisky Calendars, KWM Single Cask, KWM Whisky Calendar 2023

 

 

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