A restrained Brora, with everything you’d want and hope to find in this legendary malt, finely integrated and smoothed out; the usual key-notes of waxiness and fragrant smokiness are much reduced, while the elegant taste also offers an uncommon and attractive note of Szechuan pepper.
Appearance: Deep gold, with good beading and slow legs.
Nose: At first maritime and mineral, with dried seaweed. Then waxed apples, damp straw, hints of honeysuckle and underlying touches of oily rags suggest a cider farm’s workshop in springtime. Spicier and slightly dusty tones of earth and browning leaves develop in the weightier, savoury centre, which shows fresh-peeled bark, turmeric and mace. There’s barley sugar and a hint of orange juice or tinned pineapple too, with travel sweets and green leaves, all on a faintly waxy base. The latter emerges more with water, as does the floral, herbal fragrance.
Palate: The taste starts sweet, with only a little of the waxy texture for which Brora is renowned, so at first it’s sharper than you expect, with fruit, chili and fresh-ground black pepper. As the heat subsides, fruity dark chocolate and soft barrel-char smoke appear, with damp oak, apples and aniseed. The heat slowly builds, as does the fruit. Water brings up the waxy texture, with spicy and mouth-cooling Szechuan pepper masked by chocolate, sweet grass and fruit sweets.
Finish: Some spice in the finish, as earthy chocolate, barley sugar and aniseed slowly fade to leave sweet-spicy oak, tart apple and chocolate-covered delight, with a final quick burst of black pepper