Gordon and MacPhail: Connoisseurs Choice: Royal Brackla 1991 (Scottish Highland Single Malt Whisky: 20 Years: 46% ABV)
Visual: Thick gold.
Viscosity: Only a few streaks. Medium sized and slow.
Nose: Toffee. Planed wood. Mild lime influence. Shortbread. Heather. Slight sulphur. Water makes the heather more emphasised.
Body: Moderate oak that grows quickly. Slight alcohol is noticeable. Custard. Walnuts. Water makes smoother. Adds lime and chestnut honey.
Finish: Quite dry and oaken. Acorns? Light nuts and moss. Water makes sweeter, adding chestnut honey again.
Conclusion: A whisky that has escaped review for a while based on the misapprehension that I had already reviewed it. Thankfully the old green tree nearly always has a bottle in. So I dropped by to correct my mistake.
Let’s talk about the whisky as it is with water added, as without that it is an overly oak dominated and touch fiery whisky. So not at its best to say the least. Water allows it to show its best elements, that of a more mellow nutty style which mingles with a light sweetness to give a kind of chestnut honey element which is quite soothing.
Now it does always keep that oak dryness around the edges. When you finish a sip the mix of alcohol and the oak leaves you quite dry and parches. It is soothing, but one that leaves you thirsty.
It doesn’t vary much from what I’ve just described. It is quite single note, pretty much a nut cluster of a whisky. Despite that it is quite reasonable. Straightforward but with a finish that just doesn’t, well, finish. You can take your time with this one, let the flavour just hand there without needing to sip again. It is one that I would imagine would suit a distinguished evening party. You do not concentrate on it, but allow the flavour to hang there as you converse with others, possibly with a wood fire beside you to add to the aromas you experience.
So not a favourite whisky, but I can see its place in the whisky world.
Background: Bottled in 2011, this Royal Brackla whisky was drunk as part of a relaxing day, wandering the whisky pubs of Bath and sampling a few spirits in a leisurely fashion. Taking a photo of this bottle resulted in a few jokes from the locals, resulting in a quick explanation of doing the reviews. It’s odd how rarely I need to do that. Royal Brackla is one I’ve had a few times, but only independent bottlings. I will have to seek out an official bottling at some point to compare. This was a brand new bottled, opened before my eyes.