Back in October 2019 Royal Brackla announced a new travel retail range. It included three expressions (12, 18 and 21 Year Old) each finished in a different type of sherry cask. The Royal Brackla 18 Year Old was finished in rare Palo Cortado sherry casks. At the same time they announced a welcome increase to 46% ABV instead of the old 40% which doesn’t cut it in today’s whisky community.
Just recently they seem to have made a different decision, turning this into a core range which also became available in regular markets. Good intentions, but distribution seems to be irregular, the new website is long overdue, and there are other things to work on…
Royal Brackla 18 yo ‘Sherry Cask finish’ – Palo Cortado (46%, OB 2021)
Nose: a nice nose, but I would be lying if I said the Palo Cortado is obvious. It’s a very mild sherry influence. Instead the whisky shouts bourbon wood, with plenty of vanilla cream, stewed apples, lemon meringue and orange blossom. Walnuts. There’s a slightly sharp edge of oak spice too.
Mouth: some peaches and vanilla cream again, with tart lemon juice and golden raisins. Some ginger and grapefruit peel (making it slightly Schweppes-y) with a subtle oily note in the background. A mildly nutty side again. Herbal teas, bitter almonds and walnuts.
Finish: medium long, still citrusy with some plain oak spice.
I can easily think of better whisky for the price, and it doesn’t really have a big Palo Cortado fingerprint either (which is why I wanted to try it). Not a bad whisky, but rather middle-of-the-road, marketed beyond its class and definitely overpriced. Available from Master of Malt or The Whisky Exchange for instance.