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New Releases: Arran, Tomatin, & Big Peat

Recent new releases in the scotch whisky market include the peated Barrel Bonfire from Isle of Arran Distillers and a Big Peat expression from Douglas Laing. In addition, Tomatin adds a 12 Year Old Sherry Cask to its core range. 

Arran Barrel Bonfire Edition 2 Signature Series 

Credit: Isle of Arran Distillers

Isle of Arran Distillers has unveiled the newest installment in its limited-edition Signature Series, distilled at the Lochranza Distillery. The Arran Barrel Bonfire is the second edition in the distillery’s four-part series, which began in 2023 with Remnant Renegade. 

The Signature Series showcases the range of Arran spirit, with each release being hand-selected by Distillery Manager Stewart Bowman. 

Barrel Bonfire is an 11 Year Old single malt with a phenol level of 42 PPM. The spirit was distilled in 2012 and aged for five and a half years in ex-bourbon barrels. The whisky was then matured for an additional five and a half years in Quarter Casks from the Koval Distillery in Chicago. 

The new release of Arran Barrel Bonfire consists of just 14,822 bottles, bottled at 50% ABV. Tasting notes for the new release are: “sweet spiced cinnamon notes throughout featuring lots of vanilla and toasted oak. The finish is long, rich, and sweet. Plenty of vanilla and peat with dry bonfire smoke. Thoroughly enjoyable and luxurious.” 

According to the press release, Barrel Bonfire invites whisky aficionados to experience a heavily peated Arran expression. Arran single malt has previously been bottled at 14 and 20PPM, with this expression constituting the highest peat level in an Arran expression. 

Peated whisky is no longer distilled at Lochranza, with the plant’s sister distillery, Lagg, now producing the heavily peated LAGG Single Malt. 

Arran Barrel Bonfire Edition 2 Signature Series has an RRP of £84.99 (~$108) from the Arran Whisky website.  

Tomatin 12 Year Old Sherry Cask 

The new release from Tomatin: 12 Year Old Sherry Cask with two whisky glasses.
Credit: Tomatin Distillery

Highland distillery, Tomatin, has announced an expansion of its core range with the release of the Tomatin 12 Year Old Sherry Cask. 

Matured exclusively in sherry casks for 12 years, the whisky boasts “sweet aromas of caramelised apple and sweet pears, complemented by a medley of citrus zest from sultana, orange peel and apricot with subtle undertones of aged leather on the surface.

“Deeper on the palate, it leads with indulgent notes of velvety chocolate fudge, golden manuka honey and the crunch of dried fruit and nuts. It has a lingering warm finish, with a hint of sweet cinnamon spice.” 

The Tomatin 12 Year Old has also been given a packaging upgrade, with a deep red box and striking gold foil accents evoking the influence of the sherry inside the bottle. 

This new release is the sixth expression to be added to Tomatin’s core range, which currently includes other cask-influenced whiskies such as the Dualchas American Oak.

Speaking about the new release, Scott Adamson, Blender & Global Brand Ambassador at Tomatin Distillery, said: “The global demand for well-matured sherried malts, particularly in markets like Asia, has inspired this latest addition to our core range. Tomatin has a unique ability to balance tradition with innovation, embracing our time-honoured techniques and contemporary practices to push the boundaries of flavour exploration. For over a century, Tomatin has featured sherry casks in our maturation process, and this new release stands as the next evolution of this tradition.

“Our 12 Year Old Sherry Cask captures the essence of our renowned 12 Year Old, enhancing its signature smoothness and focusing its aromatic profile to create a sherry cask whisky with a depth of flavour that is luxuriously indulgent.”

Tomatin 12 Year Old Sherry Cask is available for an RRP of £52 (~$66) from the Tomatin website and selected retailers across the globe.

Big Peat The Thropaigeach Edition 

Credit: Big Peat

Douglas Laing-owned regional malt brand, Big Peat, has unveiled its Fèis Ìle limited-edition bottling for 2024. Big Peat Thropaigeach is a 48% ABV Islay blended malt which has been finished in ex-Rum casks to impart a tropical influence. 

The whisky is: “dominated by peated malt on the nose, before offering a warming spice, leading into a viscous palate driven by flambéed banana and barbequed meats alongside a charred pineapple finish; a truly tropical release of Big Peat in celebration of the iconic Whisky Island of Islay.” 

The striking bottle features a screen-printed design that features Big Peat (the brand’s Ileach Fisherman mascot) dressed as a pirate, representing the use of Caribbean rum casks in the whisky maturation. 

Today (May 28th, 2024), Big Peat will be at the Independent Bottler Festival, as well as co-hosting a Quiz Night tomorrow (Wednesday, May 29th). All proceeds will benefit the Islay Gaelic Centre. 

Commenting on the new release, Big Peat’s Brand Manager, Chloe Wood, said: “Big Peat fans have the chance to taste a new style of Big Peat in The Thropaigeach Edition. This is Big Peat but with an advanced fruity and citrus-driven tasting experience.

“Finished in Caribbean Rum Casks, this additional maturation style adds an extra level of complexity to the already smoky-sweet spirit of Islay. Being a tropical-themed release of Big Peat, it feels apt to be releasing this at Fèis Ìle on the Island of Islay and the perfect time to try The Thropaigeach Edition. 

“Ready to be released to all Fèis attendees, The Thropaigeach Edition is the perfect dram to enjoy across the festival celebrations and beyond!”.

Big Peat The Thropaigeach Edition is available via online retailers for an RRP of £65 ($82). 

Beth Squires

Beth joined Mark Littler Ltd full-time in October 2020 following the completion of her university degree. Since then she has gained wide-ranging knowledge of all things whisk(e)y, and has written extensively for both company and external publications. Beth is passionate about industry innovation, marketing, and sustainability. With a particular affinity for independently bottled rare scotch, Beth is also a whisky bottle investment specialist.

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