Today, you find us in a slightly diabolical place… Literally. After checking in to our hotel at Gatwick Airport the night before a short day trip to Scotland (which requires a very early start) we find ourselves in the position of staying in the room below:
Talk about 'The Number Of The Best' (Western)
Before we pull the duvets close around our ears and start to worry about the strange knocking noise from the wardrobe (either the sound of Freddie Krueger sharpening his bladed glove, or a slightly rickety ironing board that wasn’t replaced properly) we realised our location was probably the best possible location to review one of the samples of a few recent purchases we have in our travel bags, – Arran’s second chapter of their well received Devil's Punch Bowl.
This time around the demonic inspired bottling has been put together from a range of some 27 different casks, including 17 ex-sherry and 10 ex-bourbon casks, four of which have held peated Arran. We’re told that the actual liquid ranges from vintages between 1997 to 2004.
So with the wind starting to howl outside (possibly just another A320 Airbus landing) and strange shadowy figure lurking outside (as this is a Premier Inn hotel, we’re presuming it’s Lenny Henry) we pour a couple of drams. Will we last the night, or will the chilling Room 666 claim another couple of victims…
Arran - Devil’s Punch Bowl - Chapter II – 6,600 bottles - 53.1% - RRP £72.99
Nose: Young and a little spirit initially, leading into a touch of fresh orchard fruit (greengages and granny smith apples,) plus a slightly dried fruit note. With a dash of water, a malty cereal note develops, with a touch of dried leaves and a little light smokiness.
Palate: Some feisty ginger hits first, with a softer caramel/honeyed note emerging afterwards with some drying spice. With water, the peat begins to develop. Not overpowering, but certainly present and dry, with a hint of sootiness on the back palate.
Finish: Lingering notes of clean malt and a slight earthy/dryness with a touch of smoke.
Overall: Perhaps more Rocky Horror than The Evil Dead in the fearsome stakes, but all in all, another decent and well put together whisky from Arran, a distillery which continues to punch above its weight.