Though our second day at Hanse Spirit was really packed, I took the time to attend a one-hour tasting organised by Kammer-Kirsch. Our host on this beautiful afternoon was Stefan Bohn. He presented the five drams from Arran in a really outstanding wayand showed his extensive whisky knowledge whenever questions appeared during the tasting. As you might already know, I am a big fan of Arran whiskies. But today I discovered at least one great bottling I did not know before.
We started our tasting with a 14 years old Arran. 80% of this whisky were matured in bourbon casks, the other 20% came from refill sherry casks. The expected vanilla notes brought forth by the bourbon cask maturation are surely there, but there are also distinct notes of tropical fruits like melons and bananas. A very nice start! Up next was the 12 years old cask strength edition, which is limited to 13,800 bottles. Though it was matured in a similar fashion as the 14 years old, this whisky was bottled at 52.4%. This gives the whisky not only lots of strength, but also makes it appear a bit too spirituous – at least upon the fist sniff. If you take your time, however, you will find vanilla, barley and a lot of toffee-sweetness.
Our third dram was from the Cask Finish series. If you are a regular reader of our blog, you might remember our review on the Sauternes cask finished Arran from a little while ago. Here we have the Madeira Finish edition, which is also bottled at powerful 50%. After spending eight years in a bourbon cask, this whisky is matured another six months in a madeira cask. This finish gives it nice notes of plums, red fruit jelly, berries and vanilla. Really delicious! Arran also produces a peaty range called Machrie Moor, named after the fabled stone circle on the isle of Arran. Actually, this one is not as well known as Stonehenge, but maybe this whisky may have a hand in making it more common. In a few years, there will also be a new distillery on Arran, which will focus on the peaty range.
The highlight of the afternoon was definitely a 16 years old whisky exclusively bottled for Kammer-Kirsch. This whisky was matured in Oloroso sherry casks and was bottled at vigorous 58.7%. Besides a lot of sherry and vanilla, this dram also offers many sweet and fruity notes. It was clear I had to take one of these bottles home at the end of day three. Luckily, I reserved a bottle via Facebook before I went to the fair on Sunday. It was the last bottle available this weekend. This very lovely masterclass showed once again why I like Arran that much. Great drams and perfect value for money presented by an excellent host.