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Brora 30 Year Old bottled 2009

Average score from 5 reviews and 6 ratings 92

Brora 30 Year Old bottled 2009

Product details

  • Brand: Brora
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 53.2%
  • Age: 30 year old
  • Bottled: 2009
  • Bottles: 2652

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Brora 30 Year Old bottled 2009

Brora 30yo (2009) 53.2% OB 8th Release 2652 bottles

This is a sample I picked up from Master of Malt. I have said it before, and will say it again: I don’t trust sample reviews. It is like trying to decide if you want to marry a girl based on one facebook picture. All it can really tell you is that you might want to ask her out. So take this opinion with a giant grain of salt. That said, I believe this review has some value because I was able to compare it with several other bottles/samples of Brora. Over the years I have been slowing saving up samples from different Brora bottles for my own personal Ultimate-Brora-Tasting. This April I had a whole afternoon and evening to myself . . . so I decided to compare and contrast five different official bottles (and one indy bottle) from this mythic distillery: 25yo (2008), 30yo’s (2005, 2007, 2009), 32yo (2011), and a 21yo Old Malt Cask bottled in 2002. I also used a recent bottle of Clynelish as a base/standard to kick off the tasting.

Very fruity on the front: peaches and pears, but not overly sweet. There is a little bit of malt and grass behind that. It reminds me a great deal of a Tomatin 25yo sitting in my case. Behind that fruit, grass, and malt lurks a hidden peat monster. It seems bruising, but it never comes into focus. Yup, whiffs of smoke are just beyond the horizon. This is intriguing, but not what I think of for Brora. However it is certainly recognizable as a Highland malt.
With time it is more to my liking. Still fruity, but with a deep undercurrent that has both body and a slight peaty tinge to it. Very clean, but dark, gentle and complex; delicate, but with some muscle. It is growing on me. I am getting a slight whiff of what I think of as the signature Brora smell – what I call the “Brora-mustard-tone.” With water: still very fruity but more citrus orange peel is able to emerge. Still only a hint of peat, but more smoke is noticeable.

Very fruity and acidic with tons of lemons and salt. Malty and fruity in a highland malt sort of way – nothing off. With water it isn’t so acidic but not much of a change in my enjoyment.

This is a big floral ending with very high fire tones mixed with salt. It does pack a bit of a kick (which I like), but the floral thing was totally unexpected. At the very end I am getting a hint of that “Brora-mustard-tone” coating I love. Not much change with water: it is still big and floral with the smallest possible peaty ending.

Very interesting complexity. There was quite a bit going on, but I would not have guessed it was 30 years old. I got very little wood (maybe a touch). It was rather complex and it was nicely balanced. However, the finish introduced a new element – floral – in a big way. The taste and finish caught me by surprise by the floral element and acidity. Far from my favorite Brora, but not bad for a highland malt.

I don’t love this bottle design . . . but I wish I owned any bottle from 2002-2007!!! What can you do? Anything that says “30 years old” is impressive. Anything that says Brora is even more impressive. This is an impressive bottle no matter what the liquid is like. And at cask strength this is delightful.

This is probably the least “Brora” of the official bottlings (alongside the 2010 release). I liked it, but it doesn’t have that “thing” that Brora can do well. However, it does have some family resemblances: there is peat and smoke – but you really have to hunt for it – and there is some “Brora-mustard” that seems to be a defining characteristic for this distillery. I would easily drink more, but I would never be tempted to pay for a bottle (even at the original list prices).

I shoulda got a lil Brora-ette when they were still out there. Only one left now. Had a friend in Jolly Olde a few months ago. Missed my chance for him to bring it on back to my home town. Thanks for the insightful review, as always!

Thanks for reading! The best thing that I discovered in my six-Brora-tasting is that while it can be a fantastic single malt . . . I don't think it is worth the hype. I think I finally have the "Brora bug" out of my system. Don't get me wrong - I would buy more if I could! However, I don't think the bottles are worth the crazy prices that they are currently going for. I think there are still extremely good whiskies out there for (at the moment) reasonable prices.


Nothing to start, then burns the nose holes. Reminds of wickedly amplified Old Pulteney. Lots of fresh seaside and iodine flavours. Something very green and fresh like NZ Sauvignon Blanc. Turns to oaky vanilla

Rich, and mouth filling to start. Unbelievably rich. Medium peat, less oceanside flavour. Chargrilled, maple syrup.



More samples!

Nose: Cheese! goat cheese and salted manchego. Oily, waxy, and a touch nutty. Some vanilla in the back. Plastic a la putty (it's actually appetizing). The peat and smoke are there, but just barely. Just a hint of grapefruit and sweet lemon. Pinch of salt. (with water) more farmy and smokey. Still some cheese back there. Honey and creamy vanilla. More waxy lemon, peaches, and some soft fruit. whiff of smoke.

Palate: Salty cheese and nuts with honey drizzled on top. Ashy, and light coal. it also has a more straightforward sweetness. Lemon (zest) and olive oil. Delicious and close, but not fully peaty and farmy as maybe more traditional Broras. (with water) More of the same, with the coal character more prominent here. Still has olives, almonds, honey, vanilla, ginger -- it's just all around fab stuff. I may even grade this up just because it was a bit different. And I like olive oil.


Just finished off the last of my sample. Tasting notes are still very, very accurate, and very, very delicious.


Nose: Mild peat, vinegar, black pepper, tart orange peel, cut grass, charcoal, brine, a faint whiff of wet hay. Additionally, there are sweeter notes like malted milk balls, vanilla custard, and lemon tart. The oak is nicely balanced.

Taste: At first, sweet malt, toffee, almonds, crème brûlée, dark and bitter chocolate, browned butter, charred thyme leaves, lemon juice fading into lime zest, and a little peat.

Finish: This is where this whisky shines and it's maritime nature develops. Very peppery and assertive, freshly cut grass, vinegar, mushrooms, oak soaked in sea water, ocean air. Gradually, peat smoke and burning leaves become more imposing. What seems like hours later, smoked paprika emerges.

Ok, so I know that the 2009 edition isn't everyone's favorite. Upon initial sniff and taste, I felt it was simply above average. Over time (about 45 minutes) and with a small amount of water, I witnessed this whisky evolve over and over, and become more than above average. The finish is what really impressed me the most about this whisky. I've never seen so many flavors develop assertively on a finish. It was remarkable. I was sitting on my couch, picking out flavors of the finish, and maybe a couple minutes later, I was thinking, "hang on, this thing is still going!" Anyway, my next purchase will be the 2004 edition, as I hear great things about it.

Nice review :-). Brora is something of a passion of mine and even the "lesser" 30's and the 25 have been beautiful in their own right. The 2004 is incredible no doubt, a full on early 70's Brora with all the farm yard you could imagine. It's hugely expensive now of course and it is worth mentioning that the 2005/6/7 are all incredible and can sometimes be found for less than the 04 (due to its widespread reputation). The 07 in particular is pretty fab imo.


My friends keep telling me I need to taste a 30 Year Old Brora. To get them off my back (just kidding!), I’m doing this today. It’s the 2009 release, of which I got a sample (because 250 quid for a bottle is above my budget).

The nose is wonderfully creamy and spicy with peat and salt, white fruit and baked banana. Some furniture polish, but also cowhide, vanilla and something pretty medicinal. Almost as if this is a long lost cousin from an Islay whisky. Quite a bit of smoke, too. Superb.

Very creamy on the palate as well, but also pretty feisty from the woodspices. Holy crap, I can feel it going down all the way. Very warm. Again fruity, peaty and waxy, but with quite a bit of salt. Big whisky.

The finish is very long, spicy and salty.

This is the kind of whisky I would enjoy while reading a good book in front of the hearth.

@WhiskyNotes I enjoyed the 2009 (its a late 70's early 80's Clynelish style Brora for sure as you say) but feel it was perhaps the weakest of the releases, I even prefered the 25 I think. Oddly the 2010 I thought better but of course the 2004, 2005 and 2007 stand out. It will be interesting to see what the soon to be released 1978 32yo release is like considering the last few 30s.

Hi Mark. Did you already try another Brora? I wonder why they aren't in the top10 list. Maybe too few votings.

Maybe I am going to try those drams in 10 years or so - well, then they will be even more expensive :)

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