I’m a fan of Clynelish, so I couldn’t pass up the chance to review a whisky from sister distillery, Brora. Sadly, Brora no longer exists, and hasn’t for quite a while. The history of the two distilleries is interesting, and I’ll explore that history when I get around to reviewing Clynelish on this blog. In the meantime we have Brora 38-year-old, the oldest ever released in this series. This bottling was distilled in 1977 and selected from refill American oak hogsheads and refill European oak butts. Brora 38 is bottled at a cask strength of 48.6% abv and available at a retail price of $2,200. There is so little of this whisky to go around. Press materials paint a scary picture:
“Fifteenth of a limited series of annual releases, annual allocation has extended availability of this irreplaceable malt but stocks are now depleted.”
Stocks are now depleted? Does this mean this is the last release of Brora? No, but I don’t see many more releases. How’s the whisky? I’m happy to report it is exquisite!
The nose starts with candied apples and a light smokiness, with hints of brine, burnt orange peel, and forest floor. The palate bursts with alluring hints of slightly overripe orchard fruits, sea salt-covered caramel, oak spice and a touch of umami in the form of sauteed mushrooms. Meanwhile, a gentle smoke builds in the background. The finish is long and bittersweet, with hints of burnt sugar, spice and smoke.
Brora 38 is rare, expensive, and elegant. Worth every penny of the asking price. My favorite of the bunch. 9.75/10 (yes, this matches my highest ever rating only awarded to the recent Lagavulin 25)
Thanks to Diageo for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.