Signatory Vintage Un-chillfiltered Collection 1981 22yo Brora

22 years old, distilled 17th December 1981, bottled 17th December 2003, 46% abv, Sherry Butt, Cask 1635

DSC_0179Brora. It's a mythical malt, with an almost cult-like following. I opened this for a birthday, and shared it with friends. It's how a Brora should be handled!

The nose has wax, pine resin, honey, fresh cut grass and little hints of blackcurrent and liquorice. The mouthfeel is light, sweet and smooth - to be expected at 46% abv. The body brings some vanilla, then pine and camphor wood, then berries - blackcurrents, blackberries, and a hint of raspberry. Throughout it all is an elegant waxiness and honeyed notes acting as a base. Towards the back of the mouth a crisp smoke comes in - light and crisp, like a dry bonfire in the distance. The finish is sweet and light, with vanilla, wax and crisp smoke intertwined as one.

Frankly, I could sip this all day. And at 46% abv, should I really add water? I think I'll try, but only after I've appreciated most of the glass! As it sits, a touch of peach develops, and the smoke gets a little nearer. The peating level feels similar to Caol Ila at points, but is probably a little lower than that.

A very reserved dribble of water brings thin, shortlived but quite wonderfully spreading whorling. A surprise at this lower strength!

The peach is now more prevalent in the nose, with the waxy notes receding. Grassy notes are still there, but no hints of liquorice - just the fruits of the forest. The body has lost the wood notes somewhat, and the fruits are predominant. The waxiness and honey notes are still there, which is rather satisfying. The finish has less vanilla - the wax and some grassy notes come first, then a hit of crisp sweet smoke.

This is an excellent example of why Brora should not be thought of as merely the "heavily peated Highland". A superb dram to have celebrated my birthday with!

A well deserved 4.5/5