Google The Ultimate Duos, today Brora

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

August 17, 2021


The Ultimate Duos, today Brora

Brora! I won't tell you, once more and again, that they just restarted the Distillery this year and that it's been smoking for some months now. Right, when we say smoking, that's a figure of speech, I doubt any old-skool smoke would still emanate from the buildings. So, there's a 1980 within this year's Prima & Ultima, not a vintage that we've seen much until now. If you don't mind, we'll have that new one first and then today's sparring-partner, as the latter's exactly 10% ABV stronger.


Brora 40 yo 1980/2021 (49.4%, OB, Prima & Ultima, hogsheads, 505 bottles)

Brora 40 yo 1980/2021 (49.4%, OB, Prima & Ultima, hogsheads, 505 bottles) Five stars
I find it really cool, and probably very costly, that they would have kept each 'brand's traditional bottle shape and label style, which is exactly the opposite of what they had done with the famed and much-lamented Rare Malts. Or Flora & Fauna. This baby stems from the three remaining casks of 1980 that Diageo were still having, so there will be no more. This time again, 505 bottles from three hogsheads isn't really much, is it? Colour: superb light gold colour. Nose: I'll tell you what I think, this is possibly the Brora that's closest to 'Old' Clynelish that I've ever nosed. I'm thinking official 5 and official 12, especially the C/S versions for Giaccone. Extraordinary mineral arrival, chalk and flints, beach sand and old boat oil, some kind of mentholy lemon (mojito, only a dozen time nicer than the most extraordinary mojito ever), some tiny bandages, some camphory ointments, crushed oyster shells, a few garage-y touches (brake pad, engine oil, leaking old Jag ;-)), and just, well, Clynelish 12. I'd say you'd be well-advised to call the Anti-Maltoporn Brigade before it's too late. Mouth: ah well, this is smokier than Clynelish 12 (note to newbies, Clynelish 12 was made at Brora too), possibly a little fruitier as well (bergamots and dried raisins), a tad more luscious shall we say, but otherwise this is an unloading of fat sooty, chalky, earthy, even burnt notes that do scream 'Brora'. Just as Old Clynelish used to, it tends to become chalkier yet and more lemony over time, ending dense, tight and even a tad biting. Like those Sancerres we like so much. Finish: long, with the famed waxes coming to the front. Touch of salt and ashes in the aftertaste, paraffin. Some tangerines ala modern Clynelish. Comments: I shall overlook no vintage anymore at Brora, but I don't think I've ever seen any at the indies, at least not recently, which would suggest this was the last time we're tasting Brora 1980. At least we can still listen to Bonnie Tyler (what-a-at?)

SGP:565 - 93 points.

And so a sparring partner that's exactly 10% ABV stronger… and twice younger…

Brora 21 yo 1981/2002 (59.2%, Signatory Vintage, LMDW, Straight From The Cask, refill sherry butt, cask #1421, 510 bottles)

Brora 21 yo 1981/2002 (59.2%, Signatory Vintage, LMDW, Straight From The Cask, refill sherry butt, cask #1421, 510 bottles) Five stars
We used to love these wee 'artisan' bottles and their wooden presentation cases that could make for perfect birdhouses or pencil boxes. To think that you could buy some of these 1981s at 43% vol. and for 39.99€ a bottle… It's to be remembered that G&M, Signatory, and later Douglas Laing, have been instrumental to the reputation of Brora. The SMWS and Cadenhead had some even before, but those were too young and extremely rustic, to say the least. Colour: light gold. Nose: wilder for sure, even hot, very much on lime juice, with a few medicinal, almost soapy tones and whiffs of fern and sage, gradually evolving towards waxes and gentler lemons but it remains pretty hot. Do not nose too deeply, you would get a trashing, so to speak. With water: fresh mint leaves, sourdough bread, iron, chalk, wool, plasticine, lemon curd… There's still some youth to this one! Mouth (neat): hot, really, green (biting unripe rhubarb) and rather sour, but there's something extremely appealing to this baby. Its Broraness, perhaps? With water: and bam, lemons, grapefruits, paraffin, wax, gooseberries, aspirin tablets, chalk, greengages, and a few touches of sherry, rather around fino. Fresh walnuts. Finish: long, chiselled and yet fattish, waxy, lemony, and oh-so-lightly medicinal in the aftertaste. Still chalky and even a little mustardy. Comments: it's a thrill to taste a Brora that's perhaps not integrally polished yet, and so still a little brutal and 'WIP'. What a spirit, hope they'll manage to carbon-copy these.
SGP:464 - 90 points.

(Merci Salvatore!)

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