We’ve entered the last week of January, meaning this is also the last week in which I review only rare and exclusive whiskies. It has been a blast so far, with my Top 10 undergoing many changes in the process. Next up is a Brora 1981 24 Years Old from Signatory Vintage.
Brora is one of the most well-known closed distilleries of Scotland, only surpassed by Port Ellen. It became famous because of its Rare Malts expressions, and never left the public eye because of its inclusion in the annual Special Releases from Diageo.
I’ve only tasted barely half a dozen Brora-expressions myself, reviewing just one for this blog. Today’s Brora is a single cask from a (probably refill) sherry butt. Thanks for sharing, Dirk!
Brora 1981 24 Years Old (59,3%, Signatory Vintage, C#1517)
Nose: Gentle aromas of stewed apple, some burlap and a fair bit of beeswax. Plenty of oranges, as well as strawberries and a whiff of salted caramel. Straw too. The tiniest bit of peat in the background.
Taste: Oily and waxy, I like it! A very sweet first impression. Sweet barley, brown sugar. But that quickly makes way for an austere, peppery arrival, somewhat peaty. Menthol too. This might benefit from some water, so let’s try. It brings out leather, licorice and minerals.
Finish: Subtle peat, white pepper and minerals.
Always a treat to taste Brora. Had it been a bit more well-integrated, then it would’ve reached the nineties. Now it falls just short.
The Broras from the seventies are generally quite a lot better than the eighties ones. Of course, there are some exceptions, but the truly great ones are a couple of years earlier than these…
Based on my limited Brora experience, I would have to agree with you 🙂 Also, I liked to small batch bottlings I’ve tasted (Special Releases, Rare Malts) a lot better than the single casks.
You are welcome Thijs!
To add to this review I must say for me this isn’t a Brora like the others I had. It’s less of a Brora as you might know it. But that’s why I was interested in the profile of this bottle.
We had the luck to have a bit more time with this as we tried it again a few weeks ago. Adding more water is a very interesting journey to explore this. Even getting past the peppery/spice aspects that arise when adding water. Daring to put more water in feels not the right thing to do but at some point brings out the coastal, honey and mineral aspects and less of the fruits. Just love that kind of layers in a whisky.