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1 Aug 2016

White Stag Tasting Panel 2016 Results

In May 2016 the White Stag Tasting Panel made their choice for the second release of our annual worldwide community bottling!

Our 22 participants tasted all 3 cask samples, and many of them shared them with family, friends and other whisky lovers.  We had a full turn out for our tasting - 22 packs were sent out and 22 people returned their comments and impressions on their favourite sample.

The samples were tasted blind and no-one had any idea what the origin of each sample was.  They were only labelled Sample 1, 2 and 3.  

We were absolutely delighted with how much every person engaged with the task in hand, and the tasting notes all made fantastic reading.  The vast majority of the tasters were of the impression that they were dealing with three very different types of cask. The general consensus was that sample 1 showed characteristics of a Bourbon barrel, sample 2 was a good example of an Arran Sherry Cask, and the third was a bit of a maverick cask, perhaps a wine cask.

As it happens, the panel members were tasting three Sherry Butts, all filled in 1996 within weeks of one another, and all stored in the same warehouse in Lochranza for the past nearly 20 years.  When we chose the samples we felt that they each displayed very different characteristics of Arran Malt, and when presented alongside each other are a great display of how important the influence of the individual cask on the fresh new spirit is. The new spirit is our DNA and despite having the exact same origins and wood journey, this new spirit turned out completely different in these 3 casks - a bit like family members!  It's also a great reminder that you can't always afford to 'pigeonhole' your tastes in whisky, and that casks and wood can always surprise you.

In the end, out of 22 votes, 12 votes were cast for Sample 2 which is cask 1996/1335.  This cask turns 20 years old on 23rd September this year and will be bottled shortly after that in early October.  We aim to have it ready and available for sale through our web shop early November.  We expect this to be a limited edition of around 500 bottles. We will update everyone on our web site and social media pages well in advance of the release date to make sure people know when it will go on sale. There is no confirmed RRP yet but this too will be updated in due course. This is a community bottling that we care about so we are putting all our efforts into making sure that our sale this year goes smoothly and that our web site doesn't let us down as it has done in the past. 

We have created a 'super tasting note' from all of the tasting notes submitted by panellists for sample 2 and it reads as follows:

Cask 1996/1335 - White Stag 2nd Release


An intriguing mix of cherries, orange marmalade and honey cake, the nose triggers nostalgia for Hogmanay on Arran. The Arran character still shines through with lighter fruits and delicate floral jasmine notes.


Creamy and complex with vanilla and sprinkles of sweet spice - cinnamon and nutmeg. Dark chocolate begins to emerge with cherries and figs giving a vibrant and luxurious mouthfeel. Water adds a layer of fresh fruit, with tropical notes of melon and banana in the background.


A sensory delight, it is long-lasting and rich. More fruity than sweet, the dark chocolate, cherries and orange are ever-present. This is a bold dram, edgy without regret, and like our White Stag, a robust and powerful creature.

We are part of a very rich and social industry, and celebrating 21 years in it this year.  We are aware that alongside our friends and colleagues in the whisky world we are all making great strides in taking Scotland's national drink and our heritage all over the world.  Indeed, many of these lovely whisky fans come to our distilleries in their hundreds of thousands to see what all the fuss is about for themselves.  It has been incredibly rewarding for our team to be involved in this tasting event with  Arran friends worldwide which has seen us send a little exclusive part of our distillery to their corner of the world.  The feedback so far is that it has been rewarding for the panellists to get under the skin of an official distillery bottling and see how the process works from start to finish, from casks to sample bottles to finished packs.

Thanks to our panel members

We would like to thank all the panel members below, who have participated from far and wide right across the world.  Thanks also to all of our Arran White Stags worldwide for your continued interest and support.

Angus Anderson, Bart Bergen, Anne Sophie Bigot, Pawel Bonczkowski, Corné van den Broek, Richard Coton, Franck Debernardi, Klaus Doblmann (read Klaus's write-up of his tasting), Jutta Eberhardt-Roerig, Henrik B. Hager, Florian Hartmann, Monica Johnsson, Evelyn Johnston, Tamás Karsai, Paul McLaughlin, Alexander Moores, Rinus Rentmeester, Paul Seditas, Karel-Jan Senave (Read Karel-Jan's write-up of his tasting), Paul Shiells, Ian Stubbs, Darren Wells.