The Bacardi-owned Royal Brackla gained its regal prefix in 1835 when King William IV bestowed a Royal Warrant upon the distillery. It was the first distillery to attain such an accolade and the spirit was heralded accordingly as the ‘King’s own whisky’. Lying in blissful serenity in the Highlands, not far South of the town of Nairn, Brackla’s life blood is the pure waters of the Cawdor Burn.
Its capacity today is large at some 3.9 million litres and all of this, save for a few thousand casks, is used in Dewar’s blended products. The distillery was founded in 1812, by Captain William Fraser and it was not until 1919 that it parted from Fraser-family hands, after it was acquired by the Aberdeen-based James Leict and John Mitchell. Brackla ran in-house maltings for some time, though they were closed in 1966. Four years later the still capacity was increased with the addition of two further stills.
Royal Brackla is currently under John Dewar and Sons ownership – Dewars was acquired by Bacardi in 1998, ending Diageo tenure, save for the warehousing which the drinks giant still rent as part of a long time lease. Accordingly Royal Brackla spirit is matured elsewhere. An official ten year-old was released in 2004 and there have been several independent bottlings throughout the years.
This whisky is the oldest of three Royal Brackla single malts launched in 2015 as part of the Last Great Malts from John Dewar & Sons. Distilled slowly, with plenty of reflux and matured in Oloroso Sherry casks, this is a special whisky. Captain William Fraser, who founded the distillery in 1812, would be proud.
Nose: Vanilla crème, some sweet ans slightly sharp fresh berries and gooseberries – much fruitier than the 12 & 16 year olds.
Palate: Chocolate flake with just a few dark spices adding complexity.
Finish: The green edge seen in the other expressions seems to appear on the finish with cocoa, chocolate sponge and cream.
Overall: Opulent fruits and spices.