In September 2017 Speyburn distillery announced a new packaging for its core range (while the liquid is still the same). The packaging is focused on a new label, a cleaner version of the leaping salmon emblem and a bigger cardboard box.
At the same time they presented a new Speyburn 15 Year Old, a new release that joined the core range of Speyburn Bradan Orach and Speyburn 10 Year Old. Time to have all of them in one session.
Bradan Orach means ‘golden salmon’. Most of the whisky used for this expression is around 9 years old and it is matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks.
Speyburn ‘Bradan Orach’
(40%, OB 2017)
Nose: there’s a street in Oviedo (Spain), the Calle Gascona, known for its numerous bars that serve apple cider. This smells like it. Some peaches as well, as well as vanilla. Light citrus. A bit basic, but I think the bourbon wood makes it quite fresh.
Mouth: limited complexity of course, mostly soaked grains and vanilla cookies, apples again, hints of pencil shavings. A little honey. Rather weak, this could really use a bit more oomph.
Finish: short, with a bittersweet edge.
I understand this is marketed as a cheap entry-level whisky for those who don’t necessarily know their single malts. Although the nose is fair, I’m not really behind this one. Around € 25-30.
Speyburn 10 Years is essentially still an entry-level whisky but with a bit more depth than most others at this price point. There’s some ex-sherry maturation involved.
Speyburn 10 yo (40%, OB 2017)
Nose: still focused on sweet barley, with a bit more roundness this time. Creamy vanilla custard. Hints of lemon. Still some biscuits. A little sunflower oil. The sherry brings a little mustiness but not the kind of dried fruits I’d like to see.
Mouth: even though it’s still only 40%, it has a bit more body. A big malty core. Light toffee and caramel. Vanilla biscuits. Sweet grassy notes.
Finish: sweet and malty, not too long.
I quickly reviewed this one six years ago after visiting the distillery. I called it harmless and I don’t think much has changed. Still a bit of a blend drinkers dram. I haven’t seen the new bottle in shops yet, but you can find the old version for around € 30-35.
Then there’s the new and slightly more premium Speyburn 15 Year Old. Premium mostly because of its higher strength. It is matured in American oak and Spanish oak. There seem to be rumours claiming there will be even older expressions in the near future.
Speyburn 15 yo
(46%, OB 2017)
Nose: more complex. Marmalade and toffee, a bit like the 10 Year Old but smoother, more integrated. Some cocoa. Orange peel and mossy notes. Acacia honey. Oily touches. Gentle nutmeg.
Mouth: orange marmalade again, with hints of vanilla pastry. Sweet barley. Honey and candied ginger. Chocolate and cinnamon. A little leather.
Finish: medium long, on toffee and raisins, with this leathery dryness and spices.
Quite nice, pretty much on par with 15 year-olds from other Speyside distilleries, without outperforming any. Rather expensive coming from a lesser-known distillery: around € 65-70 from Master of Malt or The Whisky Exchange.