I apologize, I don’t know where I obtained this sample, or from whom. Was it from /u/unclimbability?
I have the opportunity to speak to whisky fans with different experiences than my own. In a fun discussion one mentioned he was going to be visiting Brora and doing the tour.
To be completely blunt I had not even considered it as an option. Ignoring my own current focus professionally or the fact that travel at the moment is expensive and not happening due to the current plague going on, getting to distillery’s requires a specific road trip vacation. Convincing a non-whisky loving spouse to do this instead of cheaper vacations to visit friends is like ice skating uphill.
So we don’t know what Brora will bring. Older Brora, as pointed out to me, is so different from Clynelish. And it changed even during it’s time, where early 70s Brora versus early 80s Brora have distinct differences.
Not only that, we can look to company’s like Glen Garioch, GlenDronach, or Ardbeg that changed parts of the manufacturing process and the flavours changed quite a bit.
So in order to be prepared for the day I run into a new Brora that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg I’m reviewing an old Brora (which cost an arm and a leg).
Enter Brora 25 2981 Duncan Taylor Rare Auld: Bottled in 2007, distilled in 1981, aged in oak (here I was worried it was Mesquite) and released at cask strength. All of that should have you salivating. It certainly did me.
However let’s not ignore the 400-pound gorilla in the room: When the Scotch industry shrunk in the 80s it was closed and we ended up with Scotch that had lots of barrels and a ton of time to let them come to proper age. New Brora doesn’t have that luxury.
So let’s get ready for the new stuff, shall we?
Vintage: November 1981
Bottled: February 2007
Cask Type: Oak cask (no kidding)
Cask number: 1423
Number of bottles: 682
Colour: 5Y 9/6
Nose: Candied grapefruit, honeycomb, passionfruit, violets, pineapple syrup, Smarties
Sweet, sharp, and floral. Almost like each of those elements is racing against the others and blending and merging as you encounter it more and more.
Jumps between each element back and forth. Nice funk to it too.
Taste: Violet, clover honey, key lime, mineral, licorice, nutmeg, apricot
Alright balance seems to be out the door here. One second it’s a strong floral note, the next a sharp acidic note, and then the next a slap in your childhood sweet note. Nothing is subtle, nothing is minor.
It can be a bit mental to have. While I don’t mind a dram dialed up to 11, the volume mixed with the sharper flavours makes this exhausting at times. If everyone needs to be in the spotlight than no one ends up in it.
Finish: Caramel, violet, molasses based BBQ sauce, cinnamon raisin bread, gravel, lime
Similar to before, however now there’s more molasses/strong BBQ notes. Also there’s a random earthy bit in there that I associate with gravel but you may find a sweeter earth note.
I fell a lot as a child. And a teen. And an adult.
Conclusion: Pixie stix whisky with jumps of sour, sharp candy sweets, and floral notes. I’ve had better Broras, however if you’re looking to try the distillery and get this, it won’t disappoint.
Why better? I found other Broras to take their foot off the gas for some element. Like reading poetry you have low moments and high. This is a ton of sharp, strong high moments over and over. Which may be your thing.
That all said, wow I hope they are good at aligning the whisky with these types of flavours. That amazing fruit and floral note is totally my jam.
Scotch review #1400, Highland review #226, Whisky Network review #2077