Category Archives: Braeval

Braes of Glenlivet 1979 15-year-old, Signatory

Bought: Whisky Auction, 22nd November 2016

Ratings:
84/100 – Serge Valentin (Whiskyfun.com)
78/100 – Whiskybase (from 1 member vote)

‘Braes of Glenlivet’ sounds more like a pop group of horses than the name of a whisky distillery. Thankfully the name was changed to Braeval in 1994 to avoid any confusion with the neighbouring Glenlivet distillery. It seems a tad unfair since Braeval is one of only three distilleries in the glen of the river Livet, the others being Glenlivet and Tamnavulin. Braes of Glenlivet began life in the early 70s to provide malt for the Chivas Regal blend. The distillery was mothballed in 2002 but reopened in 2008 as the demand for Chivas Regal grew.

Braeval is a true blending malt because there’s no mention on Whiskybase of the existence of a single malt direct from the distillery. The book ‘Discovering Scotland’s Distilleries’ says the principal single malt is by an independent bottler and called ‘Deerstalker’, released as a 10yo and 15yo. At 40% and 46% respectively, neither score particularly well (much like my miniature by Signatory). It’s the cask strength releases of Braeval that get the accolades.

Serge Valentin of Whisky Fun summaries my bottle of Braes of Glenlivet by Signatory with, “interesting, really interesting – I can’t remember having had that much parsley in a malt before.”

Tasting notes from Whisky Fun:
Nose: quite some sherry but also unusual notes of varnish and parsley. Develops on dried oranges and bread crust, milk chocolate, getting then very herbal (dill, chive, coriander…) Very interesting. Also something slightly metallic, motor oil…
Mouth: not too bold but not weak, sort of strange, starting on overripe oranges but also lots of paraffin. Notes of cod oil (err…), cardboard, clay… Gets then very herbal again (dried parsley, thyme). I’m wondering whether there isn’t quite some peat in there. Unusual notes of green curry, Madeira, and retsina… That’s right, it’s quite resinous.
Finish: isn’t too long but balanced and satisfying, on peppered strawberries

braes-of-glenlivet-15yo-1979-5cl

Braeval 1998 12-year-old

Bought: English Whisky Company, 6th November 2015

Ratings:
80/100 – Whiskybase (average from 2 member votes)

Although the Braeval distillery changed its name from ‘Braes of Glenlivet’ in 1994 you still find plenty of references online to its former self. My only previous bottle was a miniature distilled in 1987 which Cadenhead’s bottled in 1995 as a ‘Braes of Glenlivet’. It might be 22 years since the renaming but that’s no time at all in the world of whisky. Names and terms have a habit of sticking around forever in the whisky industry. I blame the Internet but I do for most things!

The house style for Braeval is quite sweet, fruity, grassy, spices and a hint of smoke. I know from tasting a Glen Spey that I enjoy a cask-strength Speysider with a good hint of grass, so Braeval sounds intriguing. The malt used is unpeated and the casks are ex-bourbon (providing the sweetness, fruits and spice). The distillery (the highest in Scotland) was mothballed in 2002 but brought back to life in 2008, which is a blessing for all us whisky lovers. 80/100 on Whiskybase certainly ranks this bottle of Braeval as a delicious find. 449 bottles were produced and I have number 264. Not a bad purchase for £60.

Braeval 1998 12yo 70cl

Braes of Glenlivet 8-year-old

Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 22nd December 2013

Ratings:
89/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 4 reviewers)
65/100 – Whisky Fun (April 2007)

For a young whisky distilled in 1987 and bottled in 1995, I feel quite fortunate to find several reviews online. But they are rather confused. Averaging a fantastic 89/100 on Malt Maniacs from 4 reviews, Whisky Fun only gives it 65/100. Perhaps he had a bad bottle?! I must admit though, I had to laugh when the review said “I’m sorry but ‘ouch!’” after drinking it neat. It’s 62.7%, which says it all. Anything that strong was going to need watering down!

This bottle ticked ‘Braeval’ off my ‘distilleries to get’ list. Originally I was wanting to get a 11-year-old Braeval ‘Old Malt Cask’ but unfortunately it was out-of-stock when I ordered it. This pre-name-change version will do for now but I’m still on the hunt for a new example from the Braeval distillery.

The Braes of Glenlivet 8yo 5cl