It has been said that the law of diminishing returns kicks in when it comes to the taste of whisky older than 18 years. They say that the whisky, if older than 18, tend to catch on other unnecessary flavours. But that doesn’t seem to affect the price of the 44 Year Old Brora. Distilled in 1972, this Brora (below) has quite the price tag on it.
A bit of a background on Brora. The Brora Distillery, earlier known as Clynelish Distillery, was set up in 1819 by the Marquess of Stafford and was a producer of single malt Scotch whisky, until 1983 when they stopped production.
The brand’s owner, Diageo, released a limited bottling of Brora as part of a special release program. Diageo takes great pride in this bottle and calls it “a rare survivor from a golden age”. The 1972 Brora bottle was taken from a single cask that is a part of Diageo’s Casks of Distinction. And now, privately owned international auction house, Bonhams sold the bottle for a hefty price of USD18,840 in Hong Kong on May 19, to an unnamed buyer although it was expected to fetch USD10,000 – that is almost twice more than anticipated.
It appeared in the “fine and rare wine, cognac and whisky” auction. The drink spent 44 years ageing in an ex-sherry butt and was the only bottle to be drawn from the cask.
Richard Walker, Global Head of Malts at Diageo, said, “The 1972 Brora is an exquisite single malt with unparalleled history and heritage. It represents the pinnacle of Diageo’s single malt Scotch whisky reserves and appeals to epicureans, collectors and investors alike. With connoisseurs all over the world aspiring to have a 1972 Brora on their shelves, we decided to give whisky lovers a rare opportunity to bid for this one-off bottle.”
Martin Green, Bonhams Whisky Specialist in Edinburgh added, “This was a very special bottle of whisky – a true one off – and I am not surprised that it was contested so fiercely nor that it sold for such an impressive price.”
And if you are wondering what it tastes like, the 44 Year Old whisky is described as “a massive, brooding and drying old Brora that it is seemingly made of smoke, oak, pepper, dark fruit all encrusted in sea-salt then wrapped in seaweed and oilskins. With a burnished honey-gold colour, the whisky shows smoke, oilskins and rich with bittersweet notes on the nose, hints of the beach and a big, woody bonfire. It has a savoury, earthy, very peppery centre”.
Despite the closure of the Brora distillery in 1983, some of its single malt whisky has been slowly maturing in a Scottish warehouse. One of these bottles, Brora 40 Year Old, was auctioned out 3 years back for USD9,000. It was the oldest and rarest Brora and the most expensive single malt whisky ever released by Diageo up until the 1972 Brora that stole that reputation. Well at least until Diageo releases an even older Brora whisky.