Sample #10 contained whisky from what is probably the most obscure distillery so far in this edition of the Blind Tasting Competition. Braeval isn’t a whisky you encounter often as a single malt, not even independent bottlers release many casks from this Speyside distillery.
This Braeval was released as part of the The Distillery Reserve Collection, which is a series of releases from distilleries that are part of Chivas Brothers. This collection is exclusively available at those distilleries, or at least the ones that have a visitor centre, like Strathisla and Aberlour.
Aged for 16 years in 2nd fill hogshead, this is the only official bottling of Braeval. Ever. When I tasted it, there was nothing about it that pointed me in a particular direction. It tasted like it was a nice, middle aged whisky, bottled at just above 55 percent. And that’s where I scored points yesterday (the age and alcohol percentage), because I finally decided to bet on this being a Glen Garioch. Not exactly…
Braeval 2000 16 Years Old (54,7%, OB, C#5116)
Nose: Some raspberries, accompanied by a nice waxiness, vanilla custard and porridge. Yellow fruits (like ripe banana), as well as some white grapes and a touch of ozone.
Taste: Quite spicy (cloves, white pepper and cinnamon), but also somewhat nutty, and some burlap. A gentle sweetness in the background, albeit not very distinct. Vanilla custard, stewed pears.
Finish: Spicy and warming. Finally some honey. Medium in length.
A good, full-bodied and rich Braeval, showing that this distillery produces whisky that’s not just suitable for the big Chivas blends, but that it can also be a very good single malt.
Photo: Abbey Whisky