Category Archives: Brora

Hey Dora, you want some more’a that Chieftain’s 30yo Brora?

Highlands Region – 54.6%ABV – Sherry Butt # 1523 – 469 bottles –  1981/2011 – 30yo – was $249 at K&L Wines but is sadly all sold out (in a pre-release sale nonetheless!)

…how about you Fauna? You wanna?

A gold star to the first person that gets the references in this post’s title and in the first sentence.

It’s not often you get a chance to have Brora in your glass and when you do you need to give thanks to G-d, Adonai, the Whisky Fairy, El, Elvis… what ever you call your higher power.  Brora whiskies are like hens teeth.  Very expensive hens teeth (though comparatively speaking, at $249, this 30 Brora is cheap.  The last 30yo Brora I reviewed was from a $400 bottle!)

The Brora distillery, or “old Clynelish” as it’s sometimes referred to, closed in 1983 (along with many other distilleries).  It’s stills are no longer operational.  We’ll never see this lost distillery opened again which is quite sad as they produced stellar spirit!

As I pointed out in my last review of a Brora whisky, Serge Valentin of WhiskyFun! did a great piece on the Brora distillery over at the Connosr website.  It’s well worth a read.

On to the whisky at hand.

On the nose Upon first nosing there’s an oh-so noticeable waft of sherry and oak.  It sort of slaps you.  Wakes you up.  Well, I’m already awake and prefer not to be slapped.

Let’s give this whisky a little time with some air.  (Ten minutes go by.)

It’s amazing how I am rewarded just by simply displaying a touch of patience.  The sherried notes are there, yes, as is the oak/age.  However, wonderful hints of mint and fennel followed by smoked caramels (salted) say hello to my nose.  Hi.

I am now able to inhale deeply and when I do there’s a fair amount of black pepper and some cured meats (think Linguiça).

Increasingly peppery with traces of dried fruits and tanning oil.

On the mouth Wow.  Wow-wow.  Deliciously oily and slightly waxy.

Bursts of pepper along the sides of the tongue, crushed fruit cherry bars and sweet rose water up the center of the tongue.

Baked apples with a ton of brown spices and sugar.

Pot pourri, fig newtons.  Lots of fig cookie qualities here – breading and all.

Hints of smoke here and there.  Everytime you think you found the smoke, it hides away.

Not a touch of sulfur or a bit of that over-oaked “quality” you’d be concerned with in an older whisky such as this.

Finish Incredibly lengthy with an Oolong, floral sweetness at the way back of the tongue.

In sum  A absolute stunning single cask of whisky.  One of the best I’ve had this year.  Easily.  Balanced, luxurious, indulgent and warming.

Kudos to Chieftain’s for choosing this cask of Brora (great choice!)  and adding it to their range.

Brora 30yr 2009 release

Highlands region (Brora is now mothballed, used as a visitors center for Clynelish) – 53.2%ABV – £245 – not available in the US – Master of Malt has it here.

Brora has quite a history and is a malt that is very sought after.  Serge Valentin (of Whiskyfun! fame), a true Brora devotee, wrote a great piece on the history of Brora here on Connosr.

Connosr, by the way, is a wonderful and vibrant whisky community.  If you’re not a part of it yet, sign up here.

It was based on Serge’s passionate recommendation that I looked further into Brora.  Thank you Serge!

Thanks to Master of Malt, I was able to choose this as a whisky blogger’s freebee from their Drinks by the Dram selection as long as I posted on it.  Thank you Master of Malt!

Ok, enough of the plugs, let’s get to work…

On the nose Light and soft, yet upfront with notes of peat smoke and a good deal of smoked salt.

Herbal tea – chamomile mostly.

Medicinal – almost reminds me of fresh band-aids.

The peat is ever present here and there’s a peppery prickliness to this.

Even under these peaty & medicine notes I can detect some fruits – banana (peel) & peach skins.

A good deal of vanilla that somehow went undetected until about a minute into nosing this.

On the mouth Creamy entry followed by fire – very hot stuff!

Hotter than I expected at 53.2%.

Let’s try this again and see if I need to add a wee bit of water…

Apples – fresh ones at that – and etrog (like a lemon, less intense yet much more fragrant).

Very waxy and still medicinal.

The herby/grassy quality I got on the nose carries through here.

“All-sorts” licorice candies.

Honey mustard.

Less smoky on the palate as compared to the nose.

Did I mention this is delicious?

Some dried fruits in there, mostly fig.

Finish Mint notes appear, some almond & a tad more licorice.


In sum My first Brora and, I’m in love.  The style of this whisky is quite unique.  I love the older, more elegant peat in this.  This is black tie whisky.  I’d love to pair this stuff with some nice chocolates.  A treat, through & through!