So far this month my whisky review themes have been the following: Craigellachie (here, here and here); sherry casks bottled by Old Particular for K&L (here, here and here); and heavily peated Islay whiskies (here, here and here). Let’s now end the month with reviews of some more delicate Speysiders. First up is a 16 yo Braes of Glenlivet (the throwback name for Braeval) bottled by Cadenhead in 2013. It was released in their “Small Batch” series. But as the outturn was 270 bottles and the cask type is specified as bourbon hogshead, it seems safe to assume this was a single cask release. I bought this at the same time as I did this Dufftown 26 (also from Cadenhead) and this Unnamed Orkney 14 (bottled by Signatory) and also a G&M Caol Ila trio I have not yet reviewed. All were purchased with a consortium of friends. I kept half of each botle and they split the rest. I’ve been drinking and enjoying this for the last two months and here finally are my tasting notes.
Braes of Glenlivet 16, 1997 (56.9%%; Cadenhead; bourbon hogshead; from my own bottle)
Nose: A lovely fresh mix of apples and honey; the apples start out sweet but then turn tart-sweet. Some vanilla and butter as well. As it sits a grassy note develops and the vanilla expands; some lemon too now. With time the lemon turns to citronella and the grassy note expands. Water pushes the acid and the grass back (oh shit, the feds are going to be on my back now).
Palate: Comes in as indicated by the nose with some toasted oak coming through on the back-end as I swallow. Nice oily texture and quite approachable at full strength. Develops as on the nose with more lemon and grass—I’m not usually a big fan of grassy notes on the palate but this works. Okay, time to add water. Still a fair bit of acid here with water and still quite sweet; less oak though.
Finish: Long. The oak tingles for a while after the fruit fades but it’s not tannic at all. Sweeter here with time. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Very nice bourbon cask whisky; not much complexity but also no flaws. It reminded me a lot of the original bourbon cask Glenlivet Nadurras, and that’s a good thing.
Rating: 87 points.