Whisky Review – Royal Brackla 12 year old

Royal Brackla 12 year old
40% ABV

£41.75 from the Whisky Exchange

Royal Brackla is one of the “Last Great Malts” range of distilleries, previously used almost exclusively for blends and the occasional special release is now being re-marketed as a standalone malt whisky. This isn’t a bad thing in my opinion, the distillery has a longer than what would be deemed normal fermentation period of up to 80 hours and her tall stills run at a nice slow pace, with lots of reflux providing a unique spirit. The range consists of 3 age statement malts, 12, 16 and 21 years old, all at 40% ABV. 


Quite a spicy start to the dram on first pour. Honey rich with ginger, vanilla and cumin undertones. There is some citrus peel, sweet, orange first then touches of lemons. A small amount of time adds toffee and calms the spices. A little left in the glass. Lighter toffee and syrup now forward, with maple syrup poured into hot pancakes. Some freshly baked sponge cake, vanilla rich. 


Sweet and dry arrival, with runny honey, lemon. Juicy oranges then come forward with a blast of ginger and honey. Quite juicy and mouth coating despite its low ABV. Some good oils. Some fresher, tarty lemons come through in the development, with a flicker of oak and cinnamon stick. A touch of pure liquorice. 


The liquorice and fruit juices flow in the medium length finish. With some drier herbal and oak spiciness petering out at the very end. 

Adding water. 

Minimal water added. There is a touch of smoke now! Light oak char. Some floral elements are coming forward. Heather honey. A little more herbal. Fruit is taken back quite significantly. The palate still retains a lot of fruit, it’s slightly sweeter now, spicy, more liquorice and herbal notes. Some gentle floral throat sweets. There is some tarsier fruits coming forward, unripe cherry. The finish retains the fruit and has a little added floral. Water or no water? I can’t actually decide. I need more. 🙂 it’s great stuff either way. Try both, let me know what you think. 


I really, really like this, it’s my first Royal Brackla and a great start. Very flavoursome, rewarding, good old fashioned quality whisky. Personally I would love to see this at 46%, non-chill filtered, no colour. But alas, we may have to wait a bit longer for that. If you’re hungry for a good old whisky with some great flavour and balance this is for you. 

Much thanks to Royal Brackla for the review sample

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