Whisky Review: Royal Brackla 12

Following Craigellachie and Aultmore, Royal Brackla disitllery are the next distillery being introduced into the market as part of the Last Great Malts series from Bacardi. Royal Brackla is one of two distilleries with the “Royal” word in their name (following a Royal warrant of course) but unlike the other Royal distillery (Lochnagar), Royal Brackla is not a small distillery. With a yearly production of 4,000,000 liter of alcohol, it’s a serious cog in Bacardi portfolio for blenders.

Royal Brackla aims for fruitiness and lightness by having a long fermenting stage of 80 hours comparing to the usual 60-65 hours across the industry, and a slow distillation process combined with tall stills means lots of reflux action with the copper, clearing away the sulphury notes. But Bacardi didn’t stop here and for for the entire new line up of official bottlings, the delicate and light spirit is finished in first-fill Oloroso sherry casks.

Royal Brackla 12 (40%, £41.75/€55.99)

royal brackla 12Nose: Light nose and it’s lightly perfumed. Dunno why but I immediately thought of a dancing floor at a spring garden party. Dried flowers, fruity with malt on the background, nuts and almonds, Semi dry. Despite spending most of the time in an ex-bourbon casks, the vanilla and honey are weak here. And then the sherry finish impact notes show up: cooked fruit with spices. cooked nutmeg, milk chocolate, hints of pepper. Despite being bottled at only 40%, it’s a pretty nice nose.

Palate: Dry, sweet spices on the front, lots of pepper, nutmeg, oak wood spices, dried flowers, a bit of chocolate and then dried fruits sweetness and honey.

Finish: Medium-short length. Semi-dry finish with spiciness. Green cardamom, pepper and lingering herbal and sweet wood notes.

Thoughts: I had no idea what to expect out of this whisky as it’s my first Royal Brackla and I find it a very nice entry level whisky. I like the fact it has a different profile than the other distilleries in “the Last Great Malts” series so far, with a unique profile of a dry and lightly fruity whisky with an added touch of sherry impact. However, I keep wondering had it been even better had Bacardi kept to bottling at 46%,  like they have done with the previous releases of “The Last Great Malt”.

(Official sample by Bacardi)

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