One of the biggest bargains in single malts is out with a new, limited edition, U.S.-only release: Speyburn Arranta Casks. This is a no-age-statement single malt that is aged entirely in first-fill ex-bourbon casks. I don’t know what kind of barrels standard Speyburn 10 uses for aging, but presumably some refill casks are in the mix. Upshot: Arranta (meaning ‘bold’, ‘daring,’ and ‘intrepid’ in Gaelic) should have a stronger barrel influence and a bolder wood profile.
The results are nice and in keeping with the Speyburn style. On the nose, ample malt up front, plus some citrus peel character and a little nutmeg. The palate adds to the above, folding in ample vanilla plus walnut and almond notes, a touch of milk chocolate, and some surprising tobacco touches that give it a spicy/herbal kick on the finish. There’s lots going on here, and Arranta is fun to kick around on a lazy evening as you explore its charms.
It could stand a bit more cohesion on the finish but I’d have no trouble tippling on this as an everyday dram — and it’s different enough to merit sustained exploration.
B+ / $40 / speyburn.com
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