The Brackla distillery is in the Highlands, not far south of the town of Nairn. Most of the distillery’s 3.9 million litre capacity is used in Dewar’s blended products.
Captain William Fraser founded the distillery in 1812, and it didn’t leave the Fraser family’s hands until 1919 when it was purchased by James Leict and John Mitchell of Aberdeen. Brackla had its own maltings for a while, but these were shut down in 1966. The still capacity was enhanced four years later with the addition of two more stills.
Royal Brackla is currently owned by John Dewar and Sons; Dewars was acquired by Bacardi in 1998, effectively ending Diageo’s tenancy, with the exception of warehouses, which the drinks giant continues to rent under a long-term lease. As a result, Royal Brackla spirit is aged somewhere else. In 2004, an official ten-year-old was released, as well as other independent bottlings over the years.
Finished in Oloroso sherry casks, non-chill-filtered and natural colour.
Appearance: Oak orange/brown. Lots of lovely medium quick-forming legs and a medium thick swirl mark. A really nice oil film coats the glass entirely.
Nose: Although there is a good helping of the ABV it’s a friendly and inviting nose. Cherry, vanilla custard, plenty of confectionary sugar and foam sweets. Brown sugar dusted green apples and plums appear as the glass matures, along with buttery pastry with cinnamon. Like a fresh apple pie.
Palate: Not much of a mouthfeel, a tad watery. The sherry influence is evident on the palate. There’s a richness and depth of flavour that I really like, almost red wine-like. There is a mild chilli heat tingle on the tongue along with cherry and blood orange bitterness. There’s a slight astringency which I’m not fond of, it’s the only negative I have however and it’s (almost) negligible.
Finish: Medium in length. The blood orange and cherry linger longest. The astringency is also still evident which is a shame.
Overall: I like it but it could be a better dram without the acetic element. Maybe now that the bottle is open that side of the whisky will subside.