Monday, 19 March 2012

The Eagle Has Landed - The Arran Eagle

Dan Dare, star
of the Eagle comics
There is currently a slew of new releases hitting the drinks market and this is naturally very exciting. Blackwood's are releasing the 2008 vintage of their excellent Shetland gin. The cask finish connoisseurs at Glenmorangie have released the Sassacaia cask-finished Artein (more on this soon); and the guys at Kilchoman have the 2006 Vintage on the market boasting a substantial five years of ageing. New releases always incur a fair deal of hype followed by satisfied approval or fist-shaking, vengeful disappointment. So as I try the new release from the Island distiller's of Arran I prepare my self for the best and the worst.

The Eagle unsurprisingly boasts a flamboyant painting of the bird of prey on its display tube. There is something about the iconography of the eagle that is quite exciting, it conjures images of Roman legions, mountainous wilderness and for vintage comic afficianados, the epic Dan Dare stories. So just from the packaging I am getting a little giddy with excitement, I am un-apologetically a sucker for branding. It is always a deeply satisfying moment when you tease off the foil cap and pop the cork and you are greeted by the aroma of what is clearly a great whisky. My experience with Arran is limited to one short vertical tasting, this whisky reminds me of Arran's excellence.

Arran Eagle
46% - Distilled 1999 - Bottled 2012
Nose: At first there is plain chocolate followed by cinnamon and dry stem ginger cut with a healthy dose of vanilla seeds. With time baked apple and a hint of gooseberry showcase the fruitiness this malt has to offer.
Palate: Green apple with the sweetness of pear dressed with cream and sharpened with a pleasing bitterness at the back of the mouth.
Finish: Chocolate again with spiced apple. I can't quite describe how long the finish on this whisky is without being sycophantic... superb.
Overall: A busy aroma followed with a Glenfiddich-eske flavour profile topped with a sturdy finish. The Eagle is a showcase of the excellent spirit flowing out of Arran at the moment. This is a new distillery reaching maturity with excellence.

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