Brora 2010, 54.3%

Price: $455.00 Issue: Spring 2011 Reviewer: Dave Broom

Though Brora has acquired cult status, it has to be said that for a few years these Special Release Broras went through an off-putting butyric phase, which might well have put off newbies to this legendary closed site, who must have wondered what all the fuss was about.

One nose of the 2010 SR shows that these days have been consigned to the past. This is classy from the word go. Gold in color; the nose manages to be both overtly waxy — I'm reminded of waxed paper — and fragrant. Behind that is coal smoke, rather than the heavy peatiness of earlier vintages (Brora's peating levels varied in its last years). In other words, this is robust and powerful, with an evocative aroma that speaks of old sea chests, the seashore, and vellum. Hugely concentrated, with massed fruits — quince especially — following behind. This is amplified with a drop or two of water.

The palate is unctuous and heavy. Tectonic plates move more quickly than this does in the mouth. When it does, the oily/waxy textures and flavors move slowly — camphor, peach, membrillo, hints of citrus, and toward the finish a growing brininess (akin to olives) and a hint of smoke. Elemental and one of the best Broras for years. [not available in the U.S.]£280