Whisky Review: Silver Seal Royal Brackla 1976 36 Years Old

Style: Sweet and Dignified

Nose:
Sweet honeycomb beaming positively at the forefront. Paraffin, lemon candy and rustic coal fire, plenty of old school signatures here. Subtle buttermilk pancake and almond milk. Aloe Vera jelly, gradually moving towards a grassy patch while a powerful herbal spice giving a steely framework at the back. Chilli and five spices. Finish with a soft, earthy, carrot cake tail.

Palate:
Rustic sweet lemon honey piles on. Caramel sauce drizzling on malt sponge cake. Fat, oily citrus confectionaries rolling around rather freely. Yuzu jam, more honeycomb and aloe vera amping up the sweetness. Hints of cedarwood smoke, celery, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg. Herbal spice generating plenty of power in the background again, with plenty of sharp grassy notes filling up all the back spaces. Vanilla icing, coconut shreds and carrot cake towards the end.

Finish:
Spearmint lingering, fading vanilla malt, honey lemon with a little bit of wax on the top. Soft but quite nice.

Thoughts:
A beautiful old-school Royal Brackla which is different to the modern style. Charmingly sweet cask and distillate, little bit of peat, then some old bottle effect maybe… Damn, this is a dangerously addictive combination, especially for those who love whiskies from the past era. Royal Brackla is often overlooked as a single malt (thanks to Bacardi we are seeing more of it), it might be a freak cask, but more or less we can see its potential, or rather, the ceiling might be higher than many people think.

☆☆[Highly Recommended]

[51.9%| Independent Bottling| 1976 Distilled| 2012 Bottled| Cask number:6921| Bottle number: 2 of 106| Single Cask| Cask Strength| **]

Whisky Review: Cadenhead Single Cask Royal Brackla 1976 Aged 38 Years

Style: Sweet, Herbal and Dignified

Nose:

Ahhh… Everything you would expect from a well-matured whisky, dignified aroma – toasted oak, coffee grounds, old cabinet, honey oat with a touch of vanilla custard to bring them together. Sweetness comes in an intriguing form of watermelon and kumquat sorbet, green mangoes, then a little heat brings us to the vegetal side of it, some fennel and thyme. Hints of amber coal towards the back.

Palate:

Waxy, honey syrup painted thoroughly around overripe kumquats, surprisingly sweet at the front. A rather subtle peat followed by another spoonful of watermelon ice. Peppermint and citrus lifting up to the top, then we have another herbal run – fresh cut grass, basil, linseed and more fennel. White pepper and oak cut in from the side to give a bitterish tilt. Dry spice, cloves finish.

Finish:

A mellow ending to it, caramelized kumquat, malt syrup bubbling gently, while herbs stay on the medicinal side till the end.

Thoughts:

I have never tried a 70s Royal Brackla and it is 38 years old! While it shows all signs of matureness  but in the same time it is unexpectedly vibrant for a whisky that old. Maybe the distillate starts from a high herbal tone and slowly works it way down over the years. A rather sweet and herbal dram and the long maturation has provided a good depth and complexity. A decent and interesting dram.

☆ [Recommended]

[52.9% / Independent Bottling / Single Cask / 1976 Distilled / 2015 Bottled / Cask Strength / Non Coloured / Matured in Bourbon Hogshead / one of 150 Bottles / *]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: Royal Brackla Aged 12 Years

Style: Fruity and Grassy

Nose:

Fresh peach and nectarine soaking in eau de vie. Subtle but spritely grassiness flashing on a lower level, fennel and perhaps some linseed. Vanilla pods and macadamias, honeyed fruits on the back.

Palate:

Oloroso-led malt infused with soft woodstove smoke at the front. Nectarine syrup drizzling on white bread. Baked peach, eau de vie and grassy (almost vegetal) signatures forming a delicate but oily core. Roasted hazelnut, cherrywood and malty notes to finish.

Finish:

Cherrywood smoke combines nicely with stewed yellow fruits. Red berries emerge overtime to give a satisfying Oloroso finish.

Thoughts:

My first distillery bottling Royal Brackla and this is a fairly decent one. The Oloroso sherry has been pulling the strings here, while the distillate character – grassiness, lean fruits and eau de vie are panning out at a decent pace. Although at 40% the malt feels a bit thin and the flavour intensity is a bit weak, but overall a nice and clean display. Close to a tick.

[40% • Original Bottling • 2015 Bottled • General Release • x+]

-Esmond

Whisky Review: SMWS 55.37 Royal Brackla “Choc a l’orange”

Style: Sweet and Spicy

Nose:
A sweet, powerful whiff of apricots, vinegar over tone, slightly grassy with a sturdier earthiness. Orange chocolate, chilli flakes dusting over. A mix of dry spices, nutmeg, five spices and cinnamon at the back.

Palate:
More sweet orange chocolate rolling onto palate. Herbal overtone, delicious honey hovering over ripe apricots and dried fruits. Green malt fires through leaving a fresh vanilla and earthy track. Pretty dry tail uplifted by ginger spices.

Finish:
Interchange between sweetness and dryness. Peppercorns, capsicum and ends with a grassy note.

Thoughts:
So far I have tried a few Sauternes cask and some cask finishes from the Society. There is a growing feeling that such measure is often utilized to inject extra sweetness into the spirit, especially when it is a cask finish. It works like a charm. Definitely a great way to balance the whisky, probably more so for a Royal Brackla to impart extra sweetness to a relatively greenish spirit. Quite nice!

✓ [Recommended if you like the distillery/ style]

[58.3% • 2015 Bottled • 2000 Distilled • Independent Bottling • Single Cask • Cask Strength • Non Chill Filtered • Non Coloured • 276 Bottles • Aged 15 Years • Ex-Bourbon Hogshead Matured & Finished in 2nd Fill Sauternes Hogshead • t]

Tasted at Archie Rose Distillery

-Esmond