Google Angus celebrates too and tries Brora

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

December 12, 2019


Angus celebrates too and tries Brora

That was to be expected, our dear Angus could not not have a go as well at some of the celebratory Broras I tried yesterday. Please note that they have been tasted separately (Alsace - Edinburgh), and that none of us had seen each other’s comments when we did our own little scribblings. Thank you Angus!




Brora 40 yo 1978/2019 (49.2%, OB ‘200th Anniversary’, American oak hogsheads, 1819 bottles)

Brora 40 yo 1978/2019 (49.2%, OB ‘200th Anniversary’, American oak hogsheads, 1819 bottles)
Colour: gold. Nose: even after all these years the freshness and the coastal elements are what strike first. These kinds of leathery embrocations, sandalwood and crushed seashells with undercurrents of petrol, salinity, clay, heather honey and aged mead. This kind of nose is a paean to lightly peated whisky in my opinion, this beautiful diversity of layered aroma that peat breaks down into after many years is something you just don’t get with more heavily peated malts. Remains heathery and chalky but develops along lines of lemon cough drops, vapour rubs and hessian. Gorgeous, enveloping complexity that you can just nose for ever. Mouth: surprisingly full and still quite peaty. Again this rather herbal infused peat that seems to wed itself to the waxiness of the spirit - you could almost call it ‘Brora flavour’ in the same way pinot noir or mango are their own flavours. Harmonious, elegant and deeply complex spirit, one that still possesses impressive weight, texture and balance. There’s also a sweetness, warmth and leatheriness that alludes to some graceful old VT riesling. Finish: long, impressively salty, herbal, medical and showing this elegant leathery, waxy peat again. Comments: There are other undeniably more dazzling official Broras, and the price of this bottling makes these notes pretty much academic for most of us. However, it’s an irrefutable reminder of just how great this distillery and its varied styles of distillate was. There’s a freshness and a consistency of complexity across nose and palate about this whisky that would embarrass most other 40 year olds. The overall impression I’m left with is one of profound gladness that Diageo are re-starting the distillery. If they have the sense and determination to make something akin to this style again then that will be terrific news for anyone who loves great whisky.
SGP: 563 - 92 points.



Brora 19 yo 1977/1996 (59.4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society 61.5 ‘An Islay by another name’)

Brora 19 yo 1977/1996 (59.4%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society 61.5 ‘An Islay by another name’)
Colour: gold. Nose: it’s one of these medium peated Broras where the peat is elusive and ethereal; mixed up with farmyard, medicines, seashore aspects and in this case a rather thick and profound waxiness. You just could not be nosing any other distillate. Herbal, lightly sooty, notes of canvas, oily rag, bandages and hints of pine resin. There’s also a gentle freshness of earth and damp greenery running through it - like petrichor. With water:   perfect complexity now. A sharp and tangy coastal note. Chiselled minerals, some lemon peel, camphor, herbal waxes and an undulating and wonderfully fat farmyard quality. Mouth: even with a lighter coat of peat this is still huge whisky. Powerfully, almost viscerally waxy, mineral, sooty, oily and filled with notes of polish, anthracite embers, a drying and beautifully herbal peat, salted mead, putty, medical embrocations - just totally thrilling whisky! Gets more honeyed, sweeter and almost beery with time. Some fragrant, heathery smoke and an almost petrolic mineral note. With water: broader, fatter, oilier, a more sooty smokiness and superbly mouthcoating. Time to call the anti-maltoporn brigade I feel. Finish: long, waxy and getting almost meaty while still beautifully herbal, layered and with soft flashes of peat smoke, tar, coal embers and medicines. Comments: I feel these later 1970s vintages of Brora are still underrated. You have everything here: power, structure, elegance, length, depth and complexity.
SGP: 473 - 93 points.




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