This months Whisky-Me was from Royal Brackla and a bit of a weird one. I was sure I had tried this whisky already and indeed I would even have been able to tell you where I tried it and all about the night I had at a rather terrible hotel in Dunkeld before a rather delightful visit to Glenturret Distillery.
As it happens I have never tried any Royal Brackla and I was thinking of another royal but this time Royal Lochnagar. Isn’t that weird how that happens?
The Brackla distillery was started as a legal distillery by landowner Captain William Fraser in 1817. The distillery became known as the King’s own whisky when it got the first royal warrant for a whisky distillery in 1835.
The distillery would be refurbished for the first time before the century is out but keen readers will note the picture above of the distillery looks awfully modern for a distillery which dates back to 1817. The distillery was sold into the DCL group during the second world war. That group would become what is Diageo now and 1965 saw a large construction project to increase production and remove the maltings as malting barley became a centralised process for the group.
Today, the distillery is owned by Bacardi after being sold by Diageo as the group was formed in the 90’s. The production statistics are 4 million litres per year from 4 stills. The character of the spirit is formed from long fermentation times and angled lyne arms on the stills.
The 12 year old is the entry level dram from the single malt lineup. This version is the 40% ABV version which is penned to be replaced by a 46% revamped lineup at some point this year. The new product lineups were announced in October 2019 but since then COVID has happened so perhaps that will have delayed plans.
This whisky though is Oloroso sherry matured and available for around 45 pounds in the UK. Although i haven’t seen it available much or if I have I thought it was Lochnagar!
Colour – orange
Nose – orange zest and toast with marmalade. Peppery
Palate – thin mouthfeel starts showing some of those marmalade flavours from the nose but just dies. The low alcohol level is holding things back
Finish – The finish is good though it saves the whisky with drying bitter citric zest, digestive biscuits and under ripe cooking apples
I think a revamp is long over due. The whisky is for sure a safe sherry matured bet but the heavy watering down is so last decade. I hop the new version will show the distillery off better than this because for 45 pounds you can do a lot better.