10 Nov 2011
Brora 32 years old (2011)
Tasting notes by Ruben Luyten - Posted in Brora
On Monday I wrote that I felt a little disappointed by the new Brora 32 years (part of the Diageo Special Releases 2011). I sniffed the glass at the festival and took a little sip. The disappointment was mostly because of the emphasis on mineral notes (typical for 1980’s Brora i.e. most independent releases) and the lack of farmy notes (typical for the 1970’s).
But you know how it goes, there’s not enough time and festivals don’t offer the right atmosphere for an in-depth tasting of complex whiskies, so I decided to take home the rest of my glass. Here’s the true assessment.
It’s from refill both American and European oak casks. Also, for the first time Brora is bottled as an official 32 years old while it used to be 30 years. I’ve been told stocks are running really low and there would only be one more release after this one, a Brora 40 years old.
Brora 32 yo (54,7%, OB 2011, refill American oak & refill European oak, 10th Annual release, 1500 btl.)
Nose: mineral and dusty, even a little raw at first. Wet stones and cardboard. Then some ashes and coal. A pinch of salt. This is as far as I got at the festival, but after fifteen minutes a bunch of other layers start to come out. Nice tobacco. Quite some yellow apple, peach and vanilla as well (fruity / biscuity notes, honey, in high quantities for a Brora). Wax. More smoke and aha… farmyard! Maybe not the smell of goat stables and manure of earlier releases but still a good deal of stable hay and wet animals. A little mint / eucalyptus as well. High class! Mouth: much sweeter than expected. Tangerine, almonds, condensed milk, something caramelly even. Still rather peppery and slightly mustardy. Some liquorice. Some peat and coal. Leather. Going back and forth between sharper notes and sweeter notes. A fair amount of oak too, with a tiny bit of resin. Nicely returning to pastry flavours in the end. Finish: medium long and drying, with faint peat and ashes. Again a hint of mint in the aftertaste.
After having spent more time with it, I take back my first opinion. It needs time due to its impressive complexity, but this is not at all a disappointment – it’s much better than the last few years. Although there are some quirky elements (very sweet attack, only moderate farminess), overall it’s excellent. Too bad it costs around € 350 (it’s kinda worth it though – just look at today’s prices of earlier releases). Brora enthusiasts should seriously consider this one.