Braeval 22yo (1991/2013) Brachadair

Tropical Sensation

This week’s dram is a sample from distillery #64 on the list: Braeval (or Braes of Glenlivet, if you please).

1974453_bd04d0d8As far as obscure distilleries go, Braeval is certainly one that perfectly fits the title. Build back in 1973 by Chivas Brothers, this distillery was designed as an highly efficient machine for the blends market.

A product from the 70’s and designed for low cost production: blend fodder you might think. Well you might be mistaken there, although Braeval has no official releases, many consider it to be one of the better Scottish distilleries with a high consistency of quality independent bottlings.

Thus to introduce me to this distillery I’ve picked a bottle from a Belgian bottler called Brachadair (Gaelic for malt man). As they had no new releases this year, I’m assuming they are no longer active in the industry. But I’ve heard a lot of good things about their bottles nonetheless.

Let’s dive right in…

brachadair.comNose: 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)

The Verdict

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 with no special finish. I sincerely doubt that  this was just a lucky shot. It takes a great experience to create such a class-act rich dram, thus I’m giving Braeval the benefit of the doubt. Maybe one of the Speyside’s hidden gems.

I’m definitely considering to buy a bottle of this, great stuff.