Category Archives: Royal Brackla

Royal Brackla 21-year-old

Bought: Amazon, 7th December 2016

91/100 – Whisky Bible 2017
85.24/100 – Whiskybase (average from 36 member votes)

Towards the end of 2014 John Dewar & Sons Ltd decided to repackage 5 of their distillery brands under the title of ‘Last Great Malts’, which were Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, Royal Brackla and The Deveron (see their YouTube promotional video here). They clearly took a lot of time and effort designing the packaging. I like the script used on the Craigellachie label and the smoked glass effect on The Deveron bottle. But I personally feel the Royal Brackla is the star of the show. The elegant bottle shape and regal looking label in blue and gold certainly give it the touch of glass a ‘Royal’ bottling deserves.

Unlike with the Aberfeldy 21yo, before 2014 there wasn’t a distillery release of a 21-year-old Royal Brackla. In fact Whiskybase only list 13 distillery releases from Royal Brackla in total. It’s nice to be getting something so rare! Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible, thinks this new 21yo is ‘brilliant’ with a score of 91/100. He says of the taste, “silky malt, with a shade of coastal salt ensuring the full flavours are wrung out”. He concludes with “now that’s much more like it!”

Scoring over 85/100 on Whiskybase is a high mark and suggests it’s not only Jim Murray that thinks this new Royal Brackla is brilliant. Comments include “well put together and tastes more like 46% than 40%” and “a single malt blend that’s working well”.

Tasting notes from Master of Malt:
Nose: Vanilla crème, some sweet and slightly sharp fresh berries and gooseberries – much fruitier than the 12 & 16 year olds.
Palate: Chocolate flake with just a few dark spices adding complexity.
Finish: The green edge seen in the other expressions seems to appear on the finish with cocoa, chocolate sponge and cream.
Overall: Opulent fruits and spices.

Here’s Horst Luening of with his thoughts on the Royal Brackla 21yo (November 2015):

Royal Brackla 1991

Bought – Lincoln Whisky Shop, 4th March 2014

84/100 – Whisky Bible 2006
83/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 4 reviews)

Issued in 2005, this bottling of Royal Brackla by Gordon & MacPhail appeared as a new entry in the Whisky Bible 2006 where Jim Murray says of it “wonderful honey thread on the nose, but the oak jumps in a little too early”. A small negative but getting 84/100 it’s classified as a “good whisky worth trying”.

On the Gordon & MacPhail website they say this 2005 release is now discontinued, and only miniatures are left in the shops. But it seems that several Royal Brackla releases have since appeared in the Connoisseurs Choice range. In 2014 the Whisky Bible has a newer version from 1995 that gets 88/100 and another version from 1997 that gets 84.5/100. Looking online, the most commonly available Royal Brackla in the Connoisseurs Choice range is now the 1998 starting at £33 for 70cl. It’s a safe bet that this would score in the 80s too.

Royal Brackla 1991 5cl

Cawdordew (Royal Brackla) 18-year-old

Bought – Online Whisky Auction, 31st October 2013

I must never become a collector of whisky miniatures! This bottle of Cawdordew is a perfect example of the frustration all 5cl collectors must have. This was one of several strangely named bottles up for auction where the distillery of origin was on the listing but not printed anywhere on the bottle. It seems that a private bottling company called ‘The Whisky Connoisseur’ decided to release different distillery whiskies under names of their choice, and it’s hard to find accurate information about this anywhere. Google led me to a miniature collector who thinks they have the full list but finishes it by asking to be contacted if anyone knows of any more. I’d love to know when these cute little bottles were first released and for how long but that’s too deep a question for Google to answer. I found a link to ‘The Whisky Connoisseur’ website only to be taken off to a company selling ‘house and home’ products with no mention of whisky. And I can’t find a book about miniatures either. Aaaarrrghhh!!!

Update – since my link to the full list is now dead, here it is from my archives showing The Whisky Connoisseur names and their associated distilleries:

Aberlogie – Macallan
Auchenhame – Tamdhu
Auchenlone – Glenburgie
Aucindoun – Mortlach
Auld Land Syne – Dalmore
Balcarron – Dailuaine
Barstruie – Balblair
Beinaigen – Glenburgie
Blythe & Merry – Balvenie
Braemoray – Glenrothes
Brodgar – Highland Park
Burns The Poet – Linkwood
Caskieben – Glen Garioch
Cawdordew – Royal Brackla
Corryhabbie – Balvenie
Corshelloch – Dufftown
Craigardle – Blair Athol
Cromdale – Benrinnes
Cullicudden – Dalmore
Drumbowie – Craigellachie
Dunnottar – Glenury Royal
Edina – Linkwood
Fall of Fyers – Linkwood
Glen Quaich – Aberfeldy
Highland Mary – Blair Athol
Honest Tam – Balvenie
Largiemeanoch – Bowmore
Lossieburn – Glenlossie
Miltonhaugh – Balmenach
Ochterglen – Glenturret
Pluscarden – Miltonduff
Red Rose – Old Pulteney
Rhinnesdhu – Glenfarclas
Rosscanich – Teaninich
Scots Wha Hae – Blair Athol
Skerridhu – Scapa
Slochmor – Tomatin
Spyniemor – Linkwood
Strathblair – Glenfiddich
Taranty – Glencadam
Tarracroy – Aultmore
The Alloway – Tomatin
The Annan – Tomatin
The Auchtertyre – Dailuaine
The Auld Brig – Old Pulteney
The Banks O’Doon – Dailuaine
The Ellisland – Old Pulteney
The Friars Carse – Dailuaine
The Kenmore – Balmenach
The Lincluden – Balmenach
The Lochmaben – Tomatin
The Tarbolton – Dalmore
The Twa Brigs – Tomatin
Tullichmhor – Glenlivet
Whalligoe – Old Pulteney

Royal Brackla 'Cawdordew' 18yo 5cl