Na Bràithrean (say ‘na-brah-rin’) means ‘the brothers’ in Gaelic. You’ve guessed it: this new independent bottler was founded in 2019 by two brother: Andy and Brendan. But they take it to the next level! There releases will also be brothers, meaning they will release them in duos: two whisky’s from the same distillery, same vintage, but from different casks. The ‘lighter’ one will be the Wee Brother, the ‘heavier’ one the Big Brother. So far they have released two Glencadam 2011, two Caol Ila 2011 and two Benrinnes 2008. It’s the final set that I’ll be putting head-to-head, ending with the Big Brother that was finished in a first fill PX octave.
Less outspoken than the Wee Brother, but also nicely sweet on pear syrup, banana chips, sultanas and strawberries. Lovely notes of oak as well. It’s just fabulous how different they are.
Silky soft on the palate, immediately quite piquant on cinnamon, white pepper and liquorice. Some vanilla and maple syrup to soften things up. Sultanas return, are joined by dark plums and some dried fruit, banana included. The alcohol is slightly less integrated in this Big Brother.
The finish is medium long, softly drying on dried fruit and white pepper. It dies a slightly bitter death.
I cannot shake the feeling that this PX octave was a lot less active than the oloroso cask on which the Wee Brother was finished. This is a lot less outspoken and more dry. I prefer the Wee Brother, even though both are very much worthy of your attention.