Brora, having been founded in 1819, celebrates its 200th anniversary. In style, mind you, and even that is an understatement. They released 1819 bottles of a Brora 40 Year Old 1978 in a box that will blow you away… if the price tag of 4.600 has done that first. Mouthwatering, but just unbelievably expensive. It is – together with the Port Ellen 39 Year Old 1978 Untold Stories – the ultimate crowning achievement of the cult that has been established around this closed (but soon to be re-opened) distillery.
The first thing I notice is the fruitiness. The nose bursts with apples and banana, even flirts with the tropics for a minute, and then becomes somewhat candy-like (think bubblegum), offers a beautiful waxiness and the peel of peach. This is followed by a subtle – very, very subtle – trace of smoke. The freshness of a leaf of mint. This is an instant classic. I would not have minded a tiny dirty edge, but that was completely matured out. Instead you get an very elegant lady in your glass. Impressive.
Wonderfully powerful, waxy, minty and peppery on the palate. Crispy apples, soft banana, pink grapefruit with a note of tannins and a special herbal touch. Think camphor and mint. I admit, I actually liked the final drops out the my glass. Divine.
I would not have minded if the finish was just a tad longer. It returns to bubblegum and banana, before leaving you breathless with a smile on your face.
If this bottle cost only a quarter of the current price, I think I could convince myself to buy one of these and open it for special occasions. This is ridiculously delicious. But my whisky budget does not allow for this excess. In fact, I wonder how many of these 1819 bottles will actually be tasted instead of disappearing in the whisky investors’ vaults. Oh, the horror. Pity. Thanks, Mr Dobbels, you Tasmanian Devil, for the sample!