Thanks to /u/cpfselfbuilt for this sample.
Michael Jackson once said that Royal Brackla was in Speyside. Most other reviewers placed it in the Highlands though, making our future discussions of whisky.
I’ve never reviewed a Royal Brackla, unlike the former King of Reviewers. I seem to have missed this Bacardi owned whisky, and should fix that.
The reason they are royal? In 1835 (an okay year, everyone here will attest to) they became supplier to King William IV, aka “King Willie Style”, known for his dope beats… Let’s not Wikipedia that. He died two years later, but I think it’d be mean to blame the whisky.
Since then it’s been rebuilt, sold, expanded, closed for 6 years in the 80s (good move, given the 80s), part of the Flora & Fauna series, part of United Distillers in time to be a Rare Malt, and then sold to Bacardi (though not the old casks, they stayed with Diageo). It was also the location of one of the first blenders of whisky ever, and was used for the very first blends ever.
And to this day, Royal Brackla goes into Johnnie Walker Gold Label and various Dewar’s owned blends.
Which brings us to Royal Brackla 16, the middle entrant in the Royal Brackla range. Prior to 2015 there weren’t many OBs, other than a 10 year that came out in 2004. However as we all remember, that year didn’t count, like acting like a jerk in Vegas.
So let’s see how the middle aged version tastes, shall we?
Price: $150.15 CAD at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 8/10
Nose: Grapefruit, apple turnover, thyme, light caramel
Tart, mostly apple flavours. A good amount of butter here, with a little bit of herbal notes. This is mostly made up of ex-Oloroso cask whisky, so that’s where the fruit is coming from.
The apple turnover aspect is the main note. Which is nice when the most complex “balla” note is the main one.
Taste: Apple, caramel, heather, tea, lemon
Less complex, though continues with a lot of the aspects of the nose. Acid, apple, and caramel. The herbal note is more pronounced here. More tannic.
It’s quite watery though, so getting all of the above takes quite awhile.
Finish: Heather, tannic, earth/white pepper, lemon rind
And at the end we see the apple caramel notes depart, the earth take over, and all is right in the world.
The finish is disjoint and overly tannic.
Which I wrote and then stared at. Why is all right in the world? Nothing is. This needs work. Like the world right now.
Conclusion: Watery, too low abv., and while I like the vein of apple/caramel, it’s simple and the total flavour profiles weren’t making the king come to court, if you get my subtle meaning.
It needs less water. The Oloroso works with the herbal aspects. There’s something here. It’s just buried.
Gonna have to find a higher abv. for the next one.
Scotch review #755, Highland review #121, Whisky Network review #1249