Several months ago I was lucky enough to be shown around at Royal Brackla distillery. Its always been a favourite, mostly because its just along the road from my in-laws and it always reminds me of time spent up North.
Royal Brackla is owned and operated by John Dewar and Sons. It is situated near the small village of Cawdor, near Nairn. Founded in 1812 by William Fraser it was simply Brackla Distillery until 1833 when it was the first distillery to receive a royal warrant and allowed to use the ‘Royal’ prefix.
The brand was relaunched recently as part of the Last Great Malts range.
Repackaged, redesigned and reinvigorated lets have a look at the two older age statements in the range.
Royal Brackla 16y.o, OB, 40%abv (available here)
The nose is qute floral and pefumy underneath sultana, citrus and vanilla notes all with a red apple element. The palate is again floral and a slightly sulphurous note (not a bad thing) leads into vanilla baked apples. The finish fades to dark and spice infused chocolate.
Royal Brackla 21 y.o, OB, 40% abv (available here)
The nose is inviting with a fruitier feeling than the 16. Gooseberries, rasins and vanilla are prominent. The palate is buttery and quite smooth. Rich chocolate, rasins and a sharp yet pleasant tannic feeling dominate. The finish is remarkable spiced. The gooseberries return again but this time oven baked with cinamon, allspice and vanilla.
The 16 is a fine dram but isn’t that far ahead in terms of quality than the cheaper 12.
The 21 is much more smooth, buttery and spiced. Its certainly fruitier and darker. Not a sherry bomb, but a spice bomb. Tasty stuff.