At first glance, the thought of combining a single malt Scotch with a sweet white Bordeaux wine seems like a guaranteed way to ruin two independently great tipples. Something feels fundamentally off about bringing the powerful sweetness of a desert wine up against the subtleties of a good single malt. The result, however, is nothing short of remarkable.
Arran’s master distiller hand-selects a limited number of casks of the classic Arran Single Malt to be transferred into casks from one of Bordeaux’s artisan sauternes producers. The result is a well-balanced palate with a delicate admixture of candied pear, apricots, and light honey up front that opens into warm spice and lemon zest.
While there are some pretty strict rules about what can and cannot go into making a Scotch, many Scotches do contain a touch of caramel coloring to give them a more attractive hue. The Arran sauternes finish contains no additives, its lovely pale gold tint the result of only the natural aging process. Furthermore, it is non-chill filtered, which means that if you add a single ice cube or introduce some cold water to it, it will get a little cloudy. This is not a defect but a highly traditional method of whiskey making. Chill filtering is primarily a cosmetic procedure that removes fatty acids, proteins, and esters from the matured whiskey to make it crystal clear even when the temperature drops. There is still debate about what it does, if anything, to the actual flavor of a whiskey, but if you want a more traditional, more natural kind of whiskey, look for “non-chill filtered” or “un-chill filtered” on the label.