Royal Brackla


Royal Brackla distillery is located in Cawdor, Nairn, Inverness-shire and is a Northern Highland distillery. Or possibly a Speyside one depending upon who you ask. I'll leave that one to you.

It was founded in 1812 (which just happens to be the year of one of my favourite pieces of classical music by Tchaikovsky) by Captain William Fraser of Brackla.

In 1835 they became suppliers to the Court of King William IV and were granted the right to use the "Royal" prefix.


In 1898 the Fraser family sold the distillery to John Mitchell and James Leict who formed the Brackla Distillery Company Ltd.

They also rebuilt the distiillery before selling it to John Bisset & Co. Ltd in 1926. They in turn sold it to SMD in 1943.

In 1965-6 the distillery was again rebuilt and the stills were converted from direct firing to internal heating.

1970 Saw the number of stills doubled from two to four then in 1985 Brackla was closed, only to reopen again in 1991 then operated in 1992 under licence by John Bisset & Co. Ltd.

In 1998 the distillery was sold once more, this time to John Dewar & Sons.



My thanks to Teun van Wel for permission to copy & use the distillery photos

  More great distillery info here, thanks to Malt Madness  



Royal Brackla (IB)

General whisky characteristics: Complex, aromatic, lightly fruity



'The Companion', Royal Brackla, 25y, 46% ABV matured in a fine sherry cask

A German 'Whisky Fair' bottling

Typical cost of this bottle;


Glass: Bugatti Kelch

Colour: Deep gold

Nose: Lots of light herbs, slightly dry and faint hints of liquorice. On further nosing I am getting just a trace of straw, as stored in a barn.

Palate: This one is initially slow. Most of the flavours burst through in the aftertaste and are not so evident in the initial taste. At first it seemed quite insignificant, but only for a couple of seconds before the explosion hit. Those herbal & floral notes are splendid and are mostly concentrated on the back, not the front of the tongue. The aftertaste sits purely on the back of the tongue and is one of delicate liquorice. Further tastes help concentrate the same flavours with that intial floral herbiness followed swiftly by a full, but not too fierce assault of liquorice on the back of the tongue, also making the extreme sides of the mouth water.

Overall impression: This is a good whisky, very good, but quite unusual in the experience it gives. The flavours are very delicate in an intense kind of way. Initial floral and herb notes turn quickly into a more prominent liquorice which lingers for some time. I really like this one, not just for the flavours, but for the very different overall experience it gives.



JWWW (Jack Wieber), Royal Brackla, 25y, 58.5% ABV

A German 'Whisky Fair' bottling

Typical cost of this bottle;


Nose: Freshly cut grass and hay

Palate: Lots of alcohol and spirit, needs water as the alcohol hides the flavours at this stage.

With 3 drops of water: A much smoother nose but still with grass and hay.
Palate: Now a smooth and gentle tingle on the tongue with slight liquorice, hay and herbs.

Overall Impression: A 25y Royal Brackla was selected as a whisky fair bottling last year, it was the one from "The Companion"(see above tasting note) and I have to say that one was superior to this one from JWWW. This is a good dram with water added, but it lacks the complexity and range of flavours of last years.



Zenith, Royal Brackla, 16y

A lovely and rare bottling, distilled around 1970 and bottled in the mid to late 1980's

Typical cost of this bottle; Now


Nose: A real delight, slightly perfumed floral bouquet with hints of marzipan

Palate: Tingly smooth nuts and very long finish

With 3 drops of water: Even longer and more aromatic.

Overall Impression: I love this whisky, find me more!




Cadenhead's, Royal Brackla, Rum Cask, 19y, 1992 - April 2012, 55.9% abv

One of 228 bottles

Typical cost of this bottle; Unsure


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Very pale yellow

Nose: Very fresh, herbal and floral with just a slight mustiness. After some minutes there's a suggestion of heather and also something just a little metallic.

Palate: This is totally different to the nose; it has a very creamy mouth-feel with a light pepperiness and then a massive burst of fruitiness alongside a suggestion of light red wine and yes, rum.

: Very long, immediately intense and fading only very slowly.

Overall Impression: Interesting, very interesting, it works well for me!










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