SMWS 121.90 Spiced Pear Planter’s Punch (Arran 1999)

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An Arran, been awhile since I’ve had one of these (finished by bottle of “The Bothy” a few months back and don’t think I’ve had any since then). A newish distillery, so older expressions are still a bit of a novelty although they’re starting to permeate more and more.

This one was bottled by those wonderful chaps at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society who decided to name it “Spiced Pear Planter’s Punch”, so seems to be quite a stereotypical Arran, big and fruity.

It’s little story is:

Attractive deep woody notes were combined with the spicy sweetness of pumpkin cheesecake with toasted coconut sprinkled on top and a caramel-Bourbon sauce and, right at the end, the fruitiness of apple sponge pudding served with custard. To taste neat, that fruitiness turned into pear cider and well-aged Calvados. Combine this with cinnamon dusted espresso beans and liquorice allsorts and we had a tingling tongue experience. With a drop of water attractive fruity aromas of ripe pears and berry and mascarpone summer pudding and on the taste, a spiced pear planter’s punch made us all think of a carefree Sunday sunny afternoon.

Drinking tip: Early evening relaxing on the patio

Aged 16 years. 52.8%ABV. Matured in a refill ex-bourbon hogshead. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from cas 121.90.

Nose: Peach fuzz. Asian pears. Apricot jam. Marmalade. Slightly spicy sultanas, like if you’d pick them out of a cinnamon bun. Gooseberries. Meat in a stone fruit sauce. Sawdust. Granadilla. With water some of the fruit notes become more pronounced, a lot more of the Arran character is present and an almost lactic caramel note develops.

Palate: Liquid apricot skin. Light wood oils, cedar and sandalwood. Cinnamon, nutmeg. Woody vanilla. Generic tropical fruit flavouring. With water the spices are more intense and the fruits more juicy.

Finish: Long. Bitter wood. Stone fruits. Cinnamon. Sandalwood. Sawdust.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5

The nose was a little closed, there was complexity but it was hard to coax out, but the palate was kind of the opposite, not very complex but heaps and heaps of the flavours that were there. This isn’t the best Arran I’ve tried, and doesn’t even outshine the better distillery bottlings, but still no mean whisky .

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