Speyburn puts out one of the best single malts under $40–their easy-drinking Speyburn 10 Year–but this new expression gives it a run for its money. Speyburn Arranta Casks is a whisky that’s aged exclusively in first-fill bourbon barrels. The more you fill a barrel, the less character is imparted from the wood into the whisky. So in this case, those first-fill barrels should provide a strong dose of American oak. And all of that at a very reasonable price tag.
Speyburn Arranta Casks is a limited-release, no age statement whisky that’s only available in the U.S. market. The word Arranta means “daring” and “intrepid” in Gaelic, so that’s where the name comes from. And following newish releases like Auchentoshan American Oak and Bowmore Small Barrel, which is aged in first- and second-fill bourbon barrels, it’s yet another scotch with American oak fever.
On the nose, Speyburn Arranta Casks is light, fresh and filled with honeyed fruit, toffee and mild spice. Take a sip and more of those fruit notes come out, including some juicy tropical flavors of pineapple and coconut. It finishes long and gentle with citrus, toffee, vanilla and baking spices.
This is solid whisky. If anything, we were expecting more of those bold American oak notes like vanilla and caramel. While present, those took a back seat to some compelling fruit characteristics that, combined with the vanilla and spice, make for an interesting and very drinkable dram.
– 46% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★