Arran 21 Years

 “Such a Shame”

Whisky Review # 1010

Country: Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Region: Highlands - Islands - Arran
Brand: Arran
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Mix of Sherry Butts
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 150-200 (January 2024)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Way too expensive for what it offers
Buying Advice: 👎 The older versions are said to be better but this recent bottling does not convince me at all.


Golden Amber (Natural Colour)


The Nose is Light, almost Shy, and a little Dusty and Musty as well. Probably 2nd and maybe 3rd Re-Fill casks in the mix. Disappointing for a 21 Year old Single Malt. There's a lot of Fruit to be found though but the Aromas are rather subdued and you'll have to dig them out. Mostly Sweet & Sour with a few Bitter and Salty notes.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Butter Biscuits, Salted Caramel, Dusty Oak, Dried Fruit like Plums, Apples, Apricot, Figs and Raisins, Lemon Peel, Seville Orange, Cinnamon and Mint.   

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Yogurt with bits of Melon, Pear and Banana, Mixed Nuts, Grass and Straw, Marzipan, Dunnage Warehouse, Fresh Herbs, Grapefruit Juice, Coconut Milk, Caffe Latte, Aniseed, Nutmeg, Wet Stones and a hint of Tobacco.  


Quite Light for a 21 Year old Single Malt. Quite Fruity again but with this constant Musty and Dusty undertones. These can't have been the best casks around if you ask me. The Palate is mostly Sweet and Sour but a few Bitter and Salty notes pop up as well.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Plums, Pineapples,  Apples & Apricots, Seville Orange, Grass & Straw, Fresh Herbs, Musty Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Aniseed, Menthol and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Toffee, Caffe Latte, Milk Chocolate, Almonds, Nectarine, Grapefruit & Lemon Juice, Pear drops, Dunnage Warehouse, Cinnamon, Cloves, Iron & Tobacco.     

Middle-Long and Light. Sweet at the start but with increasing Bitter & Sour notes towards the Dry end. Quite Fruity again but with a rather Musty undertone. I find Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Honey, Milk Chocolate, Seville Orange, slightly Sour Lemon & Grapefruit Juice, Cherry-Flavored Cough pastilles, Sour Wine, Dried Fruit like Plums, Raisins and Apricots, Pear Drops, Forest Floor, Mushrooms, Wet Paper, Cigar Ashes, Iron, Pepper, Ginger, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cardamom, Coriander and Mint.   

Drinking Advice

Added Water does not improve this Arran.

Rating: 7 (*******)

Nose: 7.5 - Taste: 7 - Finish: 6.5

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

If the Final score is above 8 you can safely buy the whisky in question if and when it fits your Aroma/Flavor profile. If the score is between 6 and 8 you might want to try it out in the form of a sample or if offered at a good price. Anything below 6 should be left alone when you are looking for a nice sipping whisky. You might still like it of course & I realize pricing is an important item for many whisky fans especially when you are used to enjoy whisky in a cocktail or a mixed drink.

Drinking Experience



The 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 and 25 Years as well as the NAS Whiskies Robert Burns, Sherry Cask The Bodega, Barrel Reserve,  The Bothy and the peated Machrie Moor. 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!

Our visit to the distillery in 2017 was a great event that I will never forget but I can't say the same about this 21 Years unfortunately. It's quite Fruity but it's Musty and Dusty all along the way leading me to believe that the cask management has been rather indifferent. It is said that earlier versions are quite good but this recent edition, while not really bad, is quite disappointing. It's quite expensive as well and although that seems unavoidable at this age I'm really glad I bought a sample first. I would advise you to do the same!

Cheers! Jan. 🥃

Jan van den Ende                                                                      January 26, 2024


Sarthak said...

Thanks for reviewing this whisky. I was searching some authentic and generous person to reveal the true taste and feel behind this product. Thanks once again.

Jan van den Ende said...

Hi Sarthak, thanks for your kind words. Really appreciated.The Arran 21 years is not a bad whisky but it's not great either. The indifferent casks are to blame I'm afraid.
Cheers 🥃

Anonymous said...

Dear Jan,

as I am a fan of Arran I had high expactations and was looking forward to this review as the 21 years old was on my list... the more I appreciate your honest opinion, once more,... obviously a dissapointment...

Best regards

Jan van den Ende said...

Dear Bjorn, thanks for your reaction! I would advise you to try a sample first. The older versions are said to be much better so I believe it's a lack of good casks (or the unwillingness to pay high prices for them). I found it to be really disappointing!
Cheers and a Great Weekend 🥃