Distiller: Royal Brackla. ABV: 40%. Age: 12 years. Region: Speyside. Price: $60.
Modesty is not a common virtue in marketing, but when you call your line “The Last Great Malts of Scotland,” you’re setting the bar high.
That’s the name John Dewar & Sons (and/or owner Bacardi) gave to the single malts they released last year from five distilleries that were previously stocking blends like Dewar’s almost exclusively: Craigellachie, The Deveron, Aultmore, Aberfeldy, and this, the Royal Brackla.
Royal Brackla was founded in 1812 as plain old Brackla, then got Royal when it was granted a Royal Warrant from King William IV in 1835–the first distillery so honored.
TheRoyal Brackla 12 would make a marvelous introduction to Speyside single malts for someone new to the region. The nose is appealing if a little down-the-middle, with apple, peach, and honey. The palate livens things up with orange marmalade and orange pekoe tea. The body is surprisingly rich and full, with a luxurious mouthfeel that encourages you to linger over each sip. The spice bridges to the finish: clove, nutmeg, and bitter orange.
As enjoyable as theRoyal Brackla 12 is, I’m puzzled as to why it and the wholeRoyal Brackla line (there’s a 16- and 21-year-old too) are stuck at 40% ABV, particularly given the price. There’s loads of potential here, but it’s crying out for a 46% bottling to show what it’s capable of, like the Craigellachie 13 happily has, and does.
Incidentally, our friends at Bexsonn.com, who graciously shared this gorgeous photo with us, tried it at 46% at the distillery, and said it was a cracker.
Maybe next year? -BO
A company representative graciously shared a sample of Royal Brackla 12 with us for review. As always, our opinions are 100% our own.
Thanks to Bexsonn.com for the use of their photo.