Royal Brackla 17yo (1991/2009) G&M

Power of a Glencairn

Royal brackla5
Shape matters, especially when it comes to the glass you’re using while enjoying your daily dram or scribbling notes down like me.
Today's review is a bit different, as part of a little experiment, I’ll try to explain in my own words, how much different the experience is between using a regular tumbler or a tulip-shaped Glencairn.

One would expect that adopting another glass would only benefit the nose. But let's observe what happens if we acquaint ourselves with today’s victim, a Royal Brackla from the Connoisseurs Choice range of Gordon&MacPhail, in two different ways.

Description: Distilled back in 1991, matured in a refill sherry cask and bottled at 46%.


tumblerNose: a faint impression of wine vinegar with an overabundance of caramelised hazelnut.

Mouth: light bodied and peppery, I would like to come up with some witty notes but in essence it tastes like it smells: nutty and caramelised.

Finish: short but satisfying, with fading sugary notes.


glencairnNose: now an abundant sherried nose reveals itself, main notes still consist of toffee, caramel crumble and hazelnut. But new aromas can be found as well adding more depth to the profile: citrusy elements, a delicate perfume of Lilly-of-the Valley and with a fresh pine resin on the edge.

Mouth: a light bodied whisky with a nutty profile. Once more the palate is coated with a layer of caramelised hazelnuts. Only now slightly sourer, more mineral, with some metallic elements (copper) traces of rubber and a touch of smoke.

Finish: rather short but satisfying, slightly peppery on delivery with notes of hazelnut and chocolate.


The Verdict: Human taste or the mere perception of taste is something complex. By improving one of the parameters, in essence the composition as a whole is enhanced. So one of the most essential parts of the sampling ritual is your choice of glass.

Now for the whisky itself. It is a decent Royal Brackla with a typical caramel profile. A light enjoyable everyday dram, that would probably taste great with a bit of ice cream.

Score: 83

Nose: 20

Taste: 21
Finish: 22 Balance: 20
   < 75: undrinkable, avoid at all costs
75-79: acceptable, give it a try but don't spend to much money on it
80-84: average, enjoyable whiskies mostly easy sippable entry-level single malt 
85-89: above average drams, often well aged expressions, open your wallet
90-94: excellence, sorry kids no x-mas presents this year, daddy needs this bottle
95-99: divinity, call your bank manager for another mortgage on your house