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Brora 24 yo (1977/2001, Rare Malts, OB, 56,1%)

It’s Christmas time, and after a kind of disappointing Clynelish we need to push up our mood: what could we choose best if not a product of Brora, the never enough celebrated neighbor of Clynelish? We already wrote about the history that connects the two distilleries, but if you want to know more about it, you can read Serge Valentin’s words here. The bottle we have in our hands is a true gem, a 1977 Brora from the prestigious Rare Malts range, distilled 6 years before its closure and bottled in 2001. Colour is gold.

N: as for the Clynelish, the very first note is wax: this time, this note is integrated in a complexity that is immediately breathtaking. First, close to wax there’s something deliciously ‘oppressive’, that we could define as a countryside note, with damp farmhouse, hay, stable and cowshed. There are very gentle peaty notes (without proper smoke), intertwined in perfect harmony with fruity notes: raisins, ripe apples, strawberries… It’s a real olfactory jubilation! And all this is without water: as time goes by, it opens up and the most pungent notes dissolve. There are faint spicy notes, nutmeg; sweet pipe tobacco; panettone; honey, emerging mostly after some drops of water. Wood is orgasmic. Stunning complexity and an amazing evolution.

P: very compact: it’s balanced and harmonious, but at the same time it gives you blazes of flavor: licorice, citrus, again strawberries, malt. At 56% it’s dangerously drinkable; water opens up a gentle peatiness, very tasty, and again honeyed notes pop up in a general feast. It ain’t a sweet palate, though: honey becomes an euphonic bonding agent between the fruity sweetness and the edges of wood and licorice. Great balance, that makes this palate truly magnificent.

F: peat, warm wood, a slight smokiness; sweet, dried fruit; again malty notes raise up in flames. Great aftertaste, long, lingering and in costant evolution.

Even if they’re different of course, it reminds us of some old Taliskers, as a profile: body and compactness (and sweetness, and harshness) are just exceptional. We can easily understand why many whisky aficionados are crazy for this distillery’s malt: our humble verdict is 94/100.

Recommended soundtrack: Tom Waits – Clap hands, from the album Rain dogs.

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