Arran The Robert Burns Single Malt

Single Malt — Islands, Scotland

Tasted June 7, 2020
2.25 out of 5 stars
The nose is quite typical of scotch with malted grain and some floral honeyed fruit, though there's quite a bit of meatiness that borders on smelling like sulfur. There's a fair amount going on on the nose, but it's fairly out of whack with a prominent smell of stinky feet covering up the nice traditional highland notes. The palate is a bit harsh with a questionable balance, but it's better than the nose. There isn't a ton going on on the palate though and the finish is weak. That stinky feet smell comes through as hot dog water. There's aren't any notes here that are good, though the floral bits and hit of lemon zest are OK. The rest is decidedly sub-par. There are some sea-spray flavors that come out more on the palate than on the nose. The complexity really isn't there either. There actually isn't a ton of the grain coming through either. It's just a very traditional scotch profile, but not a very good one. It's kind of drinkable, but really isn't enjoyable. I might be convinced that this is a bad 12 year old, but it doesn't taste older than 10, and really it tastes even younger than that. There's enough sweetness to carry it, but it's quite a bland sweetness. There's some spice, but it doesn't have much particular character (maybe white pepper?). Like Glenmorangie The Original, this has serious flaws, but I can't bring myself to hate it. It's not as good as Glenmorangie The Original, but it's acceptable perhaps. There's a nice bit of toastiness with even a hint of peanut coming through on the finish. It has that sweet, light flavor with fruit and vanilla that's characteristic of bourbon barrel aged scotch, along with a hit of cinnamon bringing up the spice and some smoke. It's hard to justify better than a 12 or worse than an 8 for this. That's a pretty broad range, but I think 9 to 11 is the most likely. Second tasting. The nose is stronger with more going on that that of Arran 10, but the balance is off with clear sulfur (though nothing like Clan MacGregor levels). There's quite a bit of cherry on the nose, somewhat like a moderately young brandy, perhaps a la Symbole National, though not as rich (though still somewhat similar). The palate is fruity and the sulfur isn't too bad. There's some stuff going on here for sure and it's moderately rich. It's more rich and complex than the 10 is, though not by an incredible amount. It isn't very interesting, but it does have some of that apricot in it a bit that's very appealing. For a fairly cheap Scotch, this really isn't a bad choice. I'm upping it to at least a 12. Ooh, the long finish does have some sulfur, so I don't think I can go above a 12.
35.0 USD per Bottle