January 6, 2015

Review: The Arran Devil's Punchbowl Chapter III

Bam!  Now that's some freakin' packaging!

So What The Hell Is It?

With all this smoke and fire on the cover, we're hoping for a peat monster here. Turns out that's not what we're working with. It's a vatting of 8 Sherry butts, 8 French oak casks and 5 bourbon barrels. No age statements, and likely a mix of Arran malts including lightly peated and non-peated.

Tasting Notes

Nose: Ton of musk going on here, like a fine cologne.  Just from the nose you can tell it's a skillful blend of different woods.  It's got a lot of the fresh river moss / wet rocks thing going on. Equal parts perfume, fresh river rocks, and sherried malt.

Palate: It's very fresh and smooth.  A lot of citrus, honey, and cake.

Finish: Very smooth with little perfume notes trickling up the nasal passages. Guess there's a little spice thing going on at the end, but this is hardly 'devilish'.


It's $130. Is it good? Yes, we'd say it's very good. It's a very skillful mix of casks showing off the sweetness of bourbon casks, the rich sherry notes, and it all really comes together into this fine perfume. If you want to pick it up, you can find it online here or here.

It's supposedly the last of these Devil's Punchbowl releases, hence the "Fiendish Finale" title. Maybe it's sort of collectible? But a couple issues here.  One, this isn't really our thing since it's not peated nor does it have a lot of big flavor to it. Much more finesse than boldness. Two, it's tough to spend over a hundred bucks on a NAS (No Age Statement) bottle. If you're going to put out a very expensive NAS, it had better be stupendously good (like Glenmorangie Signet). Otherwise you should just buck up and list the ages of all the ingredients. Why not? They certainly have enough space on the intricate packaging to tell you what's in it. The packaging is so over the top, you have to feel like you're paying a lot just for the box.

Ok maybe we're being too negative. This is a delicious dram, it's very drinkable. Certainly a head and shoulders better than the Machrie Moor that we didn't care for at all. But we're not running out to pick up a bottle. It's a lot of hype for something that at the end of the day is a big mix of casks from a distillery that we don't love. Tons of illustrations with little information about what's in it. And with all that fire, we want more smoke!

Until next time.  Cheers/SB


  1. FYI - vine and table does not ship out of state, so you can only purchase from them online if you live in Indiana or can do store pickup.

    1. Thanks for the tip. it looks like the other link is only for NJ as well...

  2. I don't think you are being too negative at all.
    Arran is a relatively new distillery. Unlike expensive NAS whiskies from other distilleries which, in theory, could contain old whisky, there is NO WAY this expression contains anything older than 16-17 years of age.

    I see the 17yo (the oldest ever bottled Arran listed for £67.95 at Master of Malt. I don't recall what the price for the DPB was but judging by the US$130 it was probably less. To me, that says the DPB is an overpackaged rip-off


    1. I guess we should try the first two releases which were supposedly more peaty (and also evidently had age statements). Maybe there was a little more warmth and fire there. One day... But yeah so far Arran has yet to really wow us with a bottle. Thanks for reading!

    2. I agree that Arran isn't for everybody but they have produced one dram that was an absolute cracker. The Millenium Casks cask strength was fantastic. No peat but very clean and bags of flavour. I can't recall ever enjoying an Arran before this one. If you can still find it, grab one!