Arran Quarter Cask (The Bothy)

”Shake Your Bothy”

Whisky Review # 958

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Arran
Brand: Arran Quarter Cask (The Bothy)
Distilled at: Lochranza Distillery, Arran
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 56.2% (Natural Cask Strength)
Maturation: First-Fill Ex-Bourbon casks with Finish in American Oak Quarter casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 35-50 (August 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍 Good
Buying Advice: 😐 Too much Wood and Alcohol for me to really enjoy it.

Colour:

Golden Straw (Natural Color)

Nose:

Young, Nervous and quite Malty. Be sure to give it enough time in the glass before Nosing to avoid the initial wafts of Alcohol and Varnish. The Wood contact is very clear. There's (Dried) Fruit to be found but it smells slightly Artificial. The Nose is Medium-Sweet but also offers Sour and Salty notes for balance.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Grains and Malt, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Sour Apple, Pineapple, Papaya, Melon, Grass and Straw, Earth, Wax, Cocoa Powder, Toasted Nuts, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Ginger and Mint.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Pear, Strawberry Yogurt, Dried Fruit like Plums and Raisins, Banana, Nectarine, Apricot, Orange, Glue, Dough, Varnish, Nail Polish Remover, Wet Rocks, Pepper, Nutmeg and a light hint of Polished Leather.


Palate:

Young and rather Harsh. A mix of Bitter, Sweet and Sour notes. Lots of Fruit but even more Wood and Spices. Quite Dry. The ABV is too high in my opinion.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Grass and Straw, Sour Apple, Toasted Pineapple, Orange, Lemon, Mango, Bounty Bars, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Cloves and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Pear, Banana, Grapefruit, Papaya, Nectarine, Nougat, Slivovitz, Dried Herbs, Varnish, Rubber and Menthol.


Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Hot and Spicy. A few Sour notes. Increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. The Alcohol is quite strong at this point. It doesn't really invite me to have another sip. This should be better with Water. I find Toasted Grains and Nuts, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Honey, Dough, Grass, Sour Apple, Toasted Pineapple, Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit, Pear, Cassis, Slivovitz, Bounty Bars, Mustard, Charred Oak, Wax, Caffe Latte, Varnish, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and that's almost a must in this case. Malt and Fruit develop in this way and it simply becomes easier to drink. Wood, Spices and Alcohol remain in control though.

Rating: 80 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 7 (*******)

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good. 

Conclusion:

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) opened a second distillery (Lagg) on the Southern part of Arran in 2019 that takes care of the peated expressions. The Arran core range now consists of the 10, 18, 21 & 25 Years as well as the NAS Whiskies Robert Burns, Sherry Cask The Bodega, Barrel Reserve, Machrie Moore and The Bothy that I'm reviewing today. We visited this distillery in May 2017 and absolutely loved it. Great tour, very friendly people, a nice shop and a good lunch restaurant. I can fully recommend a visit!

The Quarter Cask The Bothy was relaunched with a new look in the autumn of 2019 and added to the core range. Although it's a NAS Whisky it is said that it matured for seven years in 1st-Fill Ex-Bourbon casks before receiving a 2-Year Finish in 125 Liter Quarter Casks made of American Oak.

This is not an easy Single Malt to drink. The high ABV and the intense Wood contact during maturation make this a hard ride. It's a pity really because there's a lot of Fruit out there but it's overpowered by Oak and Alcohol that are responsible for the increasing Bitterness toward the Finish. Future Bothys would benefit from a longer maturation in standard casks, a shorter Quarter Cask Finish and a lower ABV in my opinion. But that's just me of course. I bought a bottle of this in Germany and it will take me a while to finish it. Quite unusual for me 😟!

Cheers! 🥃

Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 11, 2022

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