Braes of Glenlivet was the old name of the distillery now known as Braeval (read more about its history and change of name at Malt Madness). As with so many distilleries, Braeval’s malt goes almost entirely into blends and there are no single malt releases available other than from the indies. I’ve not had very many Braevals, and while none of the ones I’ve tried so far been bad, none have got me very excited. Let’s see where this one falls.
Braes of Glenlivet 16, 1997 (56.9%; Cadenhead’s Small Batch; bourbon hogshead; from a bottle split with friends)
Nose: Lime zest, kiwi, gooseberries. Some peppery wood below that and some malt as well. Quite floral too. With more time there’s some vanilla as well but also a slight grassiness. Not much change with water.
Palate: The same mix of fruit followed by peppery wood as on the nose. Not quite as floral or malty though. As with all of these Cadenhead’s Small Batch malts I’ve tried so far, this is surprisingly drinkable at full strength. There’s some toasted wood on the second sip and some light notes of very milky coffee as well (or more like milk with a spoon of instant coffee in it). Gets maltier and sweeter with time. Water brings out some of the grassiness that developed late on the nose.
Finish: Medium. No real development. Gets sweeter as it goes. Just a touch metallic with water.
Comments: Again, this is nice. Just a little sweeter than I would have liked on the palate. On the whole, the palate is somewhat generic but the nose is a little more unusual; the finish is nothing to write home about. This one is better without water, I think. Still, my least favourite, so far, of this crop of Cadenheads.
Rating: 83 points.