1996 Old Particular Arran 20 Year Old is the follow up cask to last year’s 19 year old Arran that K&L picked up. Since I still had more than 1/2 a bottle on the shelf I got the opportunity to taste this 20 year side by side with the previous 19 year and it proved to be an interesting study in age and casks.
In K&L’s Words: 1996 Old Particular Arran 20 Year Old
“Arran has been one of our favorite independent producers at K&L for some time with its versatile line-up of Island malts with a bit more Highland character. While the standard Arran editions can vary from sweet sherry to subtle peat, this 20 year single barrel from our Old Particular label is classic Scotch through and through.
The key components in the flavor profile are vanilla, sweet barley, soft stone fruit, and just a little bit of salt. Fans of balanced, complex, and easy to drink mature malts are going to fall on their faces for this whisky. It’s round on the palate, but the 52.7% ABV adds an extra lift with hints of oak spice and a flurry of sweetness on the finish. It’s another classic Scotch for a fantastic price due to our relationship abroad and the current advantage in the dollar to pound ratio.”
1996 Old Particular Arran 20 Year Old Info
Region: Islands, Scotland
Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
1996 Old Particular Arran 20 Year Old Review
Malty fruit bomb of an aroma jumps out of the glass dragging behind it layers of honey, graham, milk chocolate, lemon zest and a bit of melon, copper and saline. A bit of water brings out more of the honey, melon and graham cracker quality and surfaces something resembling brown sugar… but not quite.
Like the aroma it’s a malty fruit bomb but here it’s pulling in some layers of nuttiness, butter, cinnamon, minerality and copper with bits of Canadian Mints, lime and oak. Water removes the mint and and brings in something resembling grilled fruit.
Long tasty finish of fruit, malt, cocoa, cinnamon, ash, minerality and mint.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Great sense of balance, full body and a thick oily feel.
Unlike last year’s K&L Arran 19, which I bought and reviewed right as they ran out, this 1996 Old Particular Arran 20 Year Old is new, fully stocked and awesome. The aroma is rich and heavy with complex fruit and balances out the darker notes; a theme that’s repeated through the palate and finish. This is exactly what you want in a big luscious fruit bomb of a whisky and tasting them side-by-side is fascinating for a couple of reasons.
For starters, they were both distilled in August of 1996, one year after Arran was founded, making them somewhat related distillations if not the same distillation. Then you have the casks: the 19 was a refill butt whereas this 1996 Old Particular Arran 20 Year Old comes from a refill hogshead which is typically made from ex-bourbon casks. Then there’s the obvious age.
I hope K&L can continue this march up the age range while keeping it all from distillations that happened in August of 1996. It could be a fascinating lesson in what age and different casks do to the same whisky year over year. As of writing this they have 70+ bottles of these 1996 Old Particular Arran 20 Year Old in stock so if last year’s sounded good to you or this year’s sounds like it’s right up your alley there’s plenty available… for now.
SCORE: 91/100 (A-)
1996 Old Particular Arran 20 Year Old Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 92
- Palate - 92
- Finish - 91
- Balance, Body & Feel - 92
1996 Old Particular Arran 20 Year Old is freaking awesome