Duncan Taylor Brora Tasting Notes

Posted: August 25, 2011 in Brora, Scotch Whisky A-G

Duncan Taylor Rare Auld Brora 1981 (26 year old) 54.5%

Cask 1424/Dist: Nov 1981 Btl: Nov 2007/ Tasted: Jan 2008

Brora was closed for good in May 1983, so there can’t be that much of it still left around, so one always jumps at the chance to taste one! The nose is very intense, crisp and clean with a delicate peaty aroma along with manure, a slight iodine, tar and rubber nuance. However there is the Clynelish character of rich fruit lurking somewhere in the background. It kind of reminds me of old bourbon casked Lagavulin.

The palate is very obviously mature, light and delicate, with quiet a lot of wood tannins to begin with. Then in drifts the soot, coal dust and peat. The alcohol sort of masks the mid palate a bit, yet it is quiet fruity.  It’s also very oily, and it definitely leaves a coating. It sort of hangs around rather than finishes – No it lurks! If it had gone to uni it would have got a first class degree in lurking!

A drop of water brings out a lovely liquid orange note on the nose, subdues the peat to an almost imperceptible level and emphasises the vanilla oak. On the palate it becomes a veritable sooty mouthful, leaving a smoky/ oily/ mature residue. Ok, so it’s not the most amazing bottling of Brora I’ve ever tasted, but like the Mosstowie it is a lovely mature dram and you are experiencing liquid history, never to be repeated again. So if I was going to be picky I would have like to have seen this bottles around 6 years earlier.

Duncan Taylor Rare Auld Brora 1981 (27 year old) 53.8%

Cask 1427/ Dist: Nov 1981 Btl: Nov 2008/ Tasted: Nov 2008

Rich and fruity aromas intermingled with a greater degree of peat than their previous bottling (cask 1424). Intense and juicy with oodles of medicinal peat. Sort of Laphroaig-esque, in one of its mellower, introverted moments. It has an excellent clarity with hints of barley and rubber. This is a stunning nose, enhanced with a touch of perfumed white fruits.

The palate is quiet dry, a touch tannic to begin with. Ok so it’s like sucking on wood, but the wonderfully pure peat, coal dust and rubber flavours just about balance it up. It’s a touch spirity on the middle, but once past that it’s phenols a go-go! It’s a bit of a brutal Brora. Hammering the tastebuds with wave after wave of bog myrtle and rubbery fruit – Just how a Brora should be in my opinion!

A drop of water really ramps up the rubbery peat and brings out a violet and iodine note. In fact it could almost be a salt-freeIslay! On the palate it releases it’s nature oils and allows the rich, earthy fruit to ride those oils! It’s incredibly oily, it coats the tongue in a perfusion of rubbery oils. The peat is definitely less brutal now, it displays a lovely crumbly, sweet edge and the violet notes become apparent. If only Clynelish could be this interesting.


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