Brora 3rd Release 56,6% Into Neck 1974
|Serie||Diageo Special Releases 2004|
|Condition||In Original Container|
Serge Valentin (95)
Colour: pure gold.
Nose: smoke, peat and some very bold animal notes: amazing! Imagine you visit a farm, with its dogs, the cow stable, a bonfire somewhere in the courtyard… It then gets very waxy and superbly yeasty like Poilâne’s bread… Absolutely stunning. I had thought they would have put the best casks into the first edition(s), but this one proves I was wrong. It then gets quite tary, with some diesel oil. Yet, it’s more refined than the first two editions, and less brutal.
Mouth: surprisingly sweet, creamy, and almost un-peaty at first sip, but like in the very best Ardbegs, the smoke and the peat then develop into a magnificent continuum, even if the whisky remains always refined and subtle. It then gets very lemony and tary again, on green lemon, lemon grass…
The finish is very long, on a perfect cocktail of smoky lemon juice with pepper.
What a fantastic presence, deserving no less than 95 points in my book (but Olivier, who’s a little less shy than me with his ratings, gave it 97 points). Now, as I already told you, the problem is that this Brora is a killer, as it sort of damaged both the Caol Ila 25 yo and the Talisker 25 yo that were to follow…
Colour: gold (a shade deeper). Nose: A tad straighter and more mineral than the 03 at first. But also more medicinal, more embrocations, bandages, gauze and various subtle ointments. The raw farmyard note in the 03 is displaced here by a balancing but deep sootiness. Give it time and the waxiness bubbles up to the surface like slow lava. In time the earthiness becomes gravelly and there’s this note of turmeric, capers in olive oil and some fresh, yeasty breads. With water: really a similar ‘unifying’ effect as in the 03 but again here it’s more sooty, more polished, more light green fruits, more beeswax and wee flickers of lanolin and lamp oils. Mouth: you do notice the wee variations between them. This one is again leaner, straighter and more direct. It goes towards the peat in a more singular and precise fashion. But it’s brilliance is unquestionable. White hot peats, metal polish, more of this wonderful wood ember character, sandalwood, seashore salinity, paraffin wax, camphor and a texture that’s almost approaching old sweet wines such as a particularly excellent SGN - no wonder these are often considered ‘wine drinkers whiskies’. Will this anti-maltoporn brigade never get here...! With water: if you’ll excuse me but, holy shit! Water exposes the most stunning medical side in this one. Like pear eau de vie, mercurochrome and precious ointments all fused together. There’s damp hay, white truffle oil, smoked German beer, old ink and tiny tropical notes like pineapple syrup. Finish: similarly endless, only here there’s the most sublime and muscular saltiness. Like a great tidal swipe of sea salt, lemon rind, tar, dried seaweed and smoked oyster sauce. In the aftertaste there’s a callback to these more rural, earthy, mechanical notes. Comments: There isn’t much between them to be honest. Maybe I preferred the 03’s broadness and more overt farminess a tad more, but it’s splitting hairs really. Both are truly magnificent, humbling and beautiful whiskies.