I’m of the generation whisky drinker that came on board the malt whisky train when Brora already became far too expensive for it to be part of my regular whisky diet. At a recent whisky festival I visited, I overheard someone mention the reopening of Brora. He thought it would mean that prices of pre-1983 Brora, when the distillery closed, would drop dramatically. Bless his heart, but he is obviously very wrong.
When Brora reopens (scheduled for 2020), it will only highlight the uniqueness of the old-style Brora, and in effect be a marketing tool to drive prices of the old stuff even higher. Or at least, that’s what I believe. Tasting old Brora is a rarity. Luckily, when people pool their money together for an impressive tasting, held by a whisky shop willing to provide the whisky at cost, bottles of Brora do get opened every once in a while. That’s how I came to taste this the 12th Release from the 2013 Diageo Special Releases.
Brora 12th Release 35 Years Old (49.9%, OB, 2944 bts.)
Nose: Supremely balance with just a whiff of wood smoke, but mainly apricots and candle wax, with a whisper of damp oak and furniture polish. Then oranges and lime, followed by some pink grapefruit. It has a lovely minerality to it as well. Hints of ozone too. Taste: Quite salty, with whispers of peat smoke and seaweed. Wet rocks too. Some chargrilled lemons and grapefruit, as well as black pepper, ginger and chalk. A good amount of leather. Fairly different from the nose, I’d say. Finish: Lingering spiciness, some menthol. A tad dry.
The balance is what I’m most impressed with here, as has been the case before with these official releases. The nose is slightly more fruity, while the palate is much more coastal. Excellent indeed.