As the demand for Scotch Whisky grows, so to do the challenges involved with being an independent bottler. Traditionally, distilleries maintain a house style and did their best to emulate that from year to year; occasionally adding trendy finishes like tawny port barrels or pedro ximenez casks to shake things up. Carn Mor defies this archetype entirely.
By purchasing barrels of whisky from different Single Malt distilleries, they can cover a greater range of styles and assure their quality. Sadly, not all whisky was created equal. The least balanced barrels often end up in blends to compensate; by buying only barrels that can stand on their own, Carn Mor achieves extremely unique and pure flavors and never has to compromise just to keep up with demand.
This particular offering is a fifteen year old malt from the Isle of Arran, a house renowned for their bright, sweet and easy drinking style of Scotch. With just over 700 bottles made, this whisky is as rare as it is beautiful. It is bright and straw-like in the glass; a swirl reveals how feathery it is going to be on the palate.
The nose is extremely complex with hints of mandarin orange, browned butter, overripe cantaloup, baked pear, cinnamon sticks, tropical flowers and seared suede. After an introduction like that your salivary glands are on full alert. Where you expected fruit and flowers to transcend, you end up with notes of vanilla pod, cardamom, buttered popcorn, brine, peanut brittle and honeysuckle on the palate. The sheer complexity makes this worth the price of admission.
The $80 price tag seems extremely reasonable given this whiskies age, scarcity and quality. A great choice for the collector and amateur whisky drinker alike.