You can be excused if the name Royal Brackla doesn’t tweak the memory banks. Though it may carry the pedigree of oldest distillery in Scotland, it has flown under the radar rather than assume the spotlight. That’s because it has long played the role of understudy, adding its distinct character to the famed Dewar’s blend. That’s all about to change.
As the popularity of single malts shows no sign of slowing, owners Bacardi felt the time was ripe for this distillery to come down from the Highlands and treat a curious public to a trio of special whiskies. The three releases of Royal Brackla – a 12-, 16- and 21-year-old – are hitting the shelves of The Whisky Shop to give whisky enthusiasts the opportunity to discover why this distillery long ago earned regal appeal.
Reaching back to 1812, the distillery was established by Captain William Fraser who, upon returning from military duty, recognized the potential for turning the barley growing on the family farm into something more tempting than common gruel. Within 25 years he was attracting the attention of the monarchy.
The malt acquired the nickname “The King’s Own Whisky,” thanks to its distinction of being the first single malt to be granted a royal warrant. This accolade is ascribed to companies that are deemed worthy of supplying products to the sovereign, or to some member of the royal family. In this case, King William IV bestowed the “Royal” designation in 1835.
It is in the crafting of Royal Brackla where the patient workmanship pays off. The fermentation process is up to 80 hours, which is the longest duration of any distillery in Scotland. Especially tall stills help to further prolong the distillation process and contribute to its notably delicate and smooth character. Finishing in premium, first-fill sherry casks draws out sweeter fruit and honeyed layers as a robust undertone note rounds out the profile.
Of course each of the three age statements reveals their own particular subtleties that invite further investigation. So take the opportunity to revel in a deliciously regal pastime this season and treat your loyal subjects to a new taste of Scotland’s rich heritage.
Read on to learn about Scottish distiller Tomatin