Royal Brackla 21 year old
£150 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.
Spicy, toffee rich introduction on first sniff. Dried ginger spice in a hot toddy. Lemon juice. Cinnamon. Spicy on the back of nasal cavity. But there is a rich honey sweetness hidden away. Very complex. A touch of floral hand wash in the background. With a good duration in the glass (older whiskies need more time remember :)), we have chocolate, nuts, dried dark fruits with pieces of crystallised ginger. There is a floral element hidden away in the background.
Arrival is immediately sticky and sweet. Brown sugar, sweet vanilla, sugar cane, juicy fruit chewing gum, overripe oranges and lemons. Runny honey. Milk hot chocolate. Lots and lots of sweet goodies. There is a rum note going through the experience. Later on some rich kirsch cherry influence comes late in the development. All things sweet. Surprisingly I find the mouthfeel less oily than younger whiskies in this range.
It’s a long long sweet, sugary finish. Some cake, some dried fruits, lots of sugar, touches of rum and raisin. Sticky. Beautifully warming deep down. Could sip on this for ages.
Minimal water added. The nose has developed an intense herbal, oak edge. Strong aniseed ball sweets. The palate is still intensely sweet, there is a little added aniseed giving a uniqueness among the range. The finish has this herbal note continuing through. A drop of water does increase the range of flavours and really adds to the experience. Intense experience, gorgeous stuff.
This is without a doubt the easiest, most quaffable whisky in the Royal Brackla range. It’s sugar sweet richness is very moreish and quite lovely to spend an evening over after a glorious meal. As with the whole range I would desperately love to try them at 46% with no chill filtration. I truly think the older expressions would benefit from this a great deal, not that there is nothing wrong with them, but…I want to know for sure. I’m torn with this whisky. I like it. It’s very nice, but for the money, in honesty, I would rather have 2 bottles of 16 year old Royal Brackla. Sorry. Just an opinion.
Much thanks to Royal Brackla for the review sample