Brora 1981 18-year-old

Bought: Online Whisky Auction, 16th December 2015

88/100 – Whiskybase (average from 6 member votes)
87/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 4 maniac votes)

Of the distilleries that were closed in 1983, Brora, Dallas Dhu, Glen Albyn, Glenlochy, Glen Mhor, Glenugie, North Port, Port Ellen and St. Magdalene I tend to think of Brora as being second to Port Ellen in terms of cost. Even blends that contain a bit of Brora such as the Ainslie’s can make £400+ for a bottle at auction. If you ask me it’s bonkers but nobody does. Brora was formerly known as Clynelish but in 1968 the owners built a brand new distillery right next door. Later that year the old distillery ceased production, made redundant by the new Clynelish. It was only thanks to a shortage of peated malt from Islay for the Johnnie Walker blend that old Clynelish distillery was brought back to life in 1969. For a while it was known as Clynelish II until the name Brora was taken from the town the distillery was located. The strongly peated, Islay-esque Brora continued until 1973 when it was toned down to a more Highland-style level of peat. Once into the 1980s Brora became similar to the Clynelish whisky of today but still with something distinctive about it.

It’s only when you realise how short-lived Brora was, and the different phases of flavour it had, that you understand why it costs so much at auction. Not that any of the boys from 1983 are cheap but Dallas Dhu, Glen Mhor and North Port are currently the most reasonable of the nine. But I do think the Brora whisky distilled in the 1980s, like my bottle, is overpriced for what it is because of the hype caused by the rare, heavily peated Brora of 1969 and the early 70s. All that seems to be lost in the sands of time and every Brora is labelled as precious, and therefore valuable.

88/100 on Whiskybase and 87/100 on Malt Maniacs suggest that this Brora bottled by Signatory is a cracking dram. A member on Whiskybase leaves the tasting notes of:

Nose: Sweet. Cooked pears. Hint of nutmeg. Some peat smoke.

Taste: Sweet. Fruit juice with wood chips.

Finish: The wood lingers on when then sweets are gone.

Comments: The nose is really good. It smells much older than 19 years. Taste is good too but the finish isn’t very nice.

It’s good to know there’s still a bit of peat lingering in this 1981 Brora but I hope I don’t agree about the finish when I come to try it.

Brora 1981 18yo 5cl

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