Almost 700 whiskies separate 92 and 93. And yet, only 10 whiskies later, I found my second 93 scorer.
Not satisfied with the 1972 Ardbeg I just reviewed (yes, it was very nice but not in the 92/3 region), there was only one option left open to me. 1972 Brora. That legendary vintage from that legendary distillery. I had thought I saw earlier the 2002 release of Brora 30yo, which would mean 1972 or earlier. Unfortunately I couldn’t find it again until after it was too late. As the replacement I saw the 2004 release and pounced.
Brora 30 2004 Release 56.6%
Nose: Manure. Cow shit, barnyard, soiled hay. All that definitely evokes memories, particularly of walking in the countryside around my home town of Haslemere. Behind that there's crystallised fruit, sugared, waxy and complex. Earthy and nice old school oak. Peach stones. Even some overt peat in there, grapefruit, buttery.
Water: More yellow fruit, yellow apple, less barnyard, more earthy and oily. Can I jump into the glass?! INCREDIBLE.Some tropical fruit after a bit.
Taste: Oily and soft arrival, crystallised fruit, orange, lemon citrus, lovely sharp citrus then becoming darker and more earthy. Cocoa, dark chocolate, white pepper and refill oak.
Water: Soft, dry oak, oily, quite intense then with spice and smoke, soot, orange and lemon, really long development. Then fucking incredible into the finish, just a perfect transition of flavour.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Earthy, cocoa powder, mouth watering, dry oak. With water it's a bit longer with more smoke. Proper smoky and peaty. Striking stuff.
This obliterates the '72 Ardbeg before it, with water anyway. This took water really well and although I'm bummed I didn't get the 2002 release this was great to try. I hesitated about giving this 93, but after some thought I decided that this was a step up from the 92’s, while maybe not quite as amazing as the 1973 Mortlach. I messed around with some options: giving the Mortlach 94 and this 93, or this 92 and the Mortlach 93. Or even both 92. But this makes the most sense to me. Another level on everything else I’ve tried. Truly.
Thanks for reading!
Scotch Review #553
Whisky Network Reviews #648
Network Average: 74.7
Best Score: 92
Worst Score: 22
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
75-79 Very Good
Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as a Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.