With the Smugglers’ Series Vol. I ‘The Illicit Stills’ we pay homage to our forebears with an Arran dram of robust body and a heavier peat influence more redolent of the whisky produced on the
island in days gone by. The presence of the heavily peated Arran is perfectly balanced by the sweetness of older Bourbon barrels. In the background the rich and fruity influence of Port Pipes has
resulted in a fresh, full bodied and complex dram evocative of our independent character.
• The Smugglers’ Series pays homage to the rich history of illicit distillation on the Isle of Arran in the 18th and 19th centuries.
• Limited Edition of 8,700 Bottles Worldwide
• Bottled at Natural Cask Strength 56.4% abv.
• Unique release including our classic un-peated Arran Malt in combination with Arran produced from medium & heavily-peated malt.
• Includes some of our heavily peated Arran Malt at 50ppm and Arran Malt fully matured in Port Pipes.
• Non Chill Filtered & No artificial colouring.
COLOUR: Rusting iron barrel chime rings
NOSE: Subtle peat reek rising from a distant fire hints at a robust character to come.
Floral notes bring elegance, sweetness is shown in the form of fresh madeira cake with a maritime oiliness promising rich mouthfeel.
PALATE: Juicy plums, spiced with white pepper. Wood smoke of freshly sawn pine. The palate develops with gripping tannin as white grapes begin to show. Pink wafer biscuits and a blast of spicy ginger appear before the finish.
FINISH: The flavour of dried apricots fades before salty, maritime notes take over the dying embers of smugglers’ signal fires on windswept beaches. An Arran dram of true unbridled character, reminiscent of the illicit makes which gave rise to the illustrious reputation of “the Arran water”.
Double-distilled from un-peated malt, the Arran Single Malt is matured in both ex-Sherry and ex-Bourbon casks. The result is a fuller bodied dram with a delightful sweet-fruity character that shows maturity far beyond its years.
This is the peated Arran. Since 2004, the distillery produced some mildly peated spirit (14 ppm phenols) and now a limited release of 9000 bottles is made available.Nose: the expected notes of a
very young whisky: sweet malt, pear drops, some coconut. Artificial in its fruitiness. The peat comes second, it’s more of a mild grassy / smokey undertone. A few yeasty notes as well. Topped off
by fresh citrus. Mouth: overly sour start (lemon), then some peat smoke, then back to sweeter notes like apple candy. Fades on a bitter (tonic) & salty (liquorice) combo. The palate has the
same problem as the nose: it tries a lot of different tricks but none of them really work. Finish: now developing an enjoyable pastry-like quality alongside the peat smoke.
Hart Brothers can trace their origins in the licensed trade back to the late 19th century when the family were licensed victualers and publicans in Paisley, the mill town on the outskirts of Glasgow. However, it was not until 1964 that brothers Iain & Donald Hart incorporated the company as Wine & Spirit Wholesalers and Scotch Whisky Blenders.
Highland Park 'Dark Origins' (46.8%, OB, 2014) Four stars According to the distillers, this newish NAS version uses 'twice as many first fill sherry casks than in the classic Highland Park 12 year old'. So, which proportion of first fill sherry is there in the classic 12 yo? Colour: deep gold. Nose: I shouldn’t have read that, as I’m now finding a style that reminds me of the older silkscreened 12 yos. My mind playing tricks, probably. Heather honey and roasted chestnuts plus quite some polished wood, warm sawdust and raisins. Then touches of earth and a little camphor, always a jolly good sign. If you wait long enough, you’ll also find oranges and chocolate, rather ala Dalmore. Mouth: starts slightly smoky and liquoricy, before many dried fruits join in the dance. The oak feels a bit, and I wouldn’t say it’s a perfectly polished old HP, but the smoke and even the zesty minerality that sits in the background do make up for that side. I think it’s a success. Finish: long, and even smokier. One of the smokiest recent HPs if you ask me. That’s a surprise. Salted liquorice and smoked ham in the aftertaste. Comments: beats the NAS warriors if you ask me, and it seems that it’s rather fairly priced. Okay, it doesn’t beat the lovely ‘Ragnvald’. SGP:553 - 87 points.
Ledaig 8 yo 2001/2010 (61%, The Nectar of the Daily Drams) Colour: white wine. Nose: Ardbeg??? Seriously, this is just like a young un-bourbonized Ardbeg. Flinty, zesty, coastal, very peaty, crystal-clean, with notes of seaweed and fresh oysters, a little lemon and no dirtiness at all (while earlier young Ledaigs could be a tad dirty-ish in my book). It’s quite stunning I must say… With water: and now come the wet dogs (yeah, we’re sorry, dogs!) and clothes. ‘An old Harris tweed jacket after a walk on the beach under the rain’ – yeah well… Also a little cane sugar. Mouth (neat): maybe a wee tad less Ardbeggian, just a wee tad. Ultra-clean again, extremely zesty and zingy, lemony, with a very ‘chiselled’ peatiness. Impressive and dangerously drinkable at 61% vol. With water: a little sweeter, with also a bigger earthiness. Finish: very long, very clean, very peaty. Comments: surprisingly good and definitely Islay-inspired. Also reminds me of an old 14yo ‘Tobermory’ by Sestante bearing a very Germanic label. Anyway, all very great, let’s hope there will be more of this breed coming out in the coming months/years. SGP:358 - 91 points.