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Distillery #64: Braeval (or Braes of Glenlivet, if you like). My first whisky from this distillery and for my first dram I've picked a bottle from a Belgian bottler called Brachadair (Gaelic for malt man). They had no releases back in 2014, so maybe they are not even active anymore.
Although Braeval has no official releases, many consider it to be one of the best Scottish distilleries with a high quality consistency with the unofficial independent bottlings.
Let's dive right in
Nose: warm hay, succulent coconut meat, notes of bananas with a pinch of butter, a light touch of lemon. Underlying some grassy notes with a whiff of vanilla. (with water added: coconut flavours blossom, more crispy vanilla)
Mouth: slightly waxy body, spicy and drying on the palate. Some honeyed notes, apple juice, ginger, a sniff of vanilla and bold layers of coconut milk. (with water added: cloves are added in the mix together with some some honeyed peaches)
Finish: A two layered long evolving finish: smoky at first with notes of apple wood smoke, later some sensational tropical notes develop: distinctive tones of fresh pineapple (not the conserved version). (with water added: pineapples disappear, more smoke develops)
After a series of mediocre to bad introductions to new distilleries, this tropical sensation was the perfect first encounter.
As this was just matured in a bourbon cask, no special finish. One could argue that this was just a lucky shot, but somehow I doubt that. It takes a great experience to create such a class-act rich dram. I'm definitely considering to buy a bottle of this. Great stuff and and for now a great distillery.