Arran Lochranza Reserve Review

“Young and Innocent”

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands
Brand: Arran Lochranza Reserve
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
ABV: 43% 
Chill-Filtration: No 
Whisky Review # 610
Buying Advice: 😃  Positive if you're starting to poke your Nose around Single Malt. Good Price/Quality Ratio. 😏 Too simple for Whisky vets.

Colour: Pale Straw/White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose: Relatively Young but Fruity and Floral with both Sweet - and Sour Notes. I find Sweet Barley, Butter Kekse, Salted Butter, Vanilla, Toffee, Caramel, Straw, light Honey, Apple, Pear, Banana Ice Cream, Canned Pineapple, Orange, Lime, very light Sherry, light Oak, light Dusty Road, Cinnamon, Ginger and a nice Milk Chocolate note. The Alcohol is present of course but it doesn't spoil the party. On the Nose, the Lochranza Reserve is Light but Clean and Fruity. The Sherry cask influence is minimal. 

Palate: Despite the good ABV, the Delivery is on the Thin side. On the Palate, the Lochranza Reserve has both Sweet - and Sour Notes. It's a little Edgy and Nervous and its Youth is telling by now. I find Sweet Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Toffee, Green Apple, Orange, Lemon, Gooseberries, slightly Bitter Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger and a few Floral notes I can't quite pin down.  

Finish: Light, Short and Bitter-Sweet with some Sour - and Mineral notes and a few Bitter Tannins towards the end. I find Soft Cereals, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Milk Chocolate, light Honey, Sour Apples, Gooseberries, Citrus, Cinnamon, Oak, light Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol and a hint of Salted Licorice.

I added a little Water and on the Nose Creamy Cereals, Vanilla, Green Apples and Floral tones flourish. On the Palate and in the Finish it becomes too Thin. So better sip it neat. 

Rating: 81.5      

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

General Remarks:

Arran Distillery was founded by Harold Currie in 1993 and started production in 1995. Business is going so well that the owners (Isle of Arran Distillers) are in the process of building another distillery (Lagg) on the Southern part of Arran. Production of this new distillery could start in 2018. Exciting times on the island that I will visit coming May 2017. The Arran core range now consists of the 10, 12 CS, 14 and 18 Years alongside the NAS Expressions Robert Burns and Lochranza Reserve that I'm reviewing today.

Lochranza Reserve was of course named after the village where the distillery is located. It was launched in 2014 to replace the Arran Original. The Spirit for the Lochranza Reserve matures in Ex-Bourbon casks. Around 6-9 months before bottling, around 15% of the batch is transferred to First Fill Ex-Sherry casks. Right before bottling the 15% from the Sherry casks is married with the 85% that remained in the Ex-Bourbon casks. The Lochranza is of course a NAS Single Malt but I would estimate that the Whisky is bottled somewhere between 5 and 7 years. The Lochranza Reserve is not expensive with prices usually in the 35 to 40 US Dollar range (April 2017).

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion: The Short Finish of part of the Spirit in Ex-Sherry casks works out well in my opinion. It just gives an extra Fruity kick. Too much Sherry would almost certainly overwhelm the light and young Arran Spirit. As it stands, the Arran Lochranza is a light, Fruity and Floral Whisky, especially on the Nose. On the Palate and in the Finish however this Malt has a very young feel to it and it lacks Depth and Complexity. A good Whisky for beginning Single Malt drinkers but too young and not quite interesting enough for Whisky "veterans". The Price Vs. Quality ratio is good and will attract many consumers. Although even they might consider spending a few bucks more on the Arran 10 Years I reviewed earlier. I like the Arran concept and I'm a big fan of their Arran 18 Years. I just don't think the Lochranza is their finest hour!

Jan van den Ende                                                                      April 13, 2017

No comments: