Brora 40 Year Old
"A rare survivor from a closed distillery"
Dawn breaks. A first pale coppery shard of light strikes the battered old wood doors of the silent Brora distillery, a place which has not heard the tread of men’s feet for many years.
The light catches a dull, fiery glint, reflected back from the darkness within. Could it be a last piece of copper from the old distillery apparatus? Or could it be that Brora has a guardian still, perhaps a last, lone Scottish wildcat sheltering here from the ravages of winter?
Today, darkness haunts the old Brora buildings. Nature is gradually reclaiming them. The building once vibrant with dedicated craftsmen, fell silent when it closed its doors in 1983. It’s easy to believe you are more likely here to encounter a wildcat, than a man.
Yet you can still sense the glory that distilling brought to this grey broken stone, still glimpse the gleam of a copper pipe, the dull iron hoop from an old cask. And it’s not hard to imagine the joy when news of its acclaim reached the remote distillery constructed for a future Duke of Sutherland on the edge of Europe’s last wilderness.
As one of Scotland's first purpose built distilleries, it was founded in 1819 as the Clynelish Distillery in the town of Brora, Sutherlandshire. The distillery enjoyed increasing success throughout the 19th and 20th century and the whisky made there was so much in demand that in 1967 a new distillery was built on an adjacent site, allowing the original to concentrate on a highly peated, smoky style all of its own.
So it was that the old Brora distillery on the stormy sea coast began to produce some astounding Scotch whiskies, now acclaimed the world over. It took a while, of course, for them to mature and for their true brilliance to be recognised.
By the time it was, Brora had sadly fallen silent amid a wave of closures that affected the whisky industry.
So what was it that made the fabled class of ’72 so special? It was in this year that Brora produced the most brilliant of its highly peated bottlings for which the distillery is now known.
In the ten years that followed until the distillery was closed amid very difficult market circumstances, Brora continued to enjoy what was its final lease of life. Expressions distilled in 1972 and aged for more than 20 years finally took the whisky world by storm when released as rare malts in 1995. Today, if they can be found at all, those early releases are almost beyond price.
There has never, until the present bottling, been a 40 year old. And nothing has been released from the fabled 1972 vintage for over ten years. This proud 40 year old, then, is surely the most special Brora of all? Given its fame, stocks of 1972 Brora were quickly depleted. But not quite exhausted. Now, holding the striking contemporary copper clad decanter that cradles this, the oldest Brora ever released, it is possible for a fortunate few to hold history in their hands once more.
Taken at natural cask strength from a single cask distilled a generation ago, the fine pale gold malt in this exquisite crystal decanter is a proud and rare survivor of another age. The decanter bears the golden emblem of the Scottish Wildcat, a now endangered species, which featured on the family crest of the distiller's founder, the Duke of Sutherland. The unique crystal stopper is etched with the number '40' and the decanter has an engraved copper neck detailing the 1972 vintage distillation year. The decanter is presented in a beautiful wooden case, an interpretation of the closed Brora distillery, skilfully handcrafted by the Queen's cabinet makers at N.E.J Stevenson Ltd.
The Brora 40 Year Old Single Malt Whisky is exclusive to World of Whiskies and will be available for purchase now. With only 160 bottles produced make sure you don't miss this opportunity to own a piece of distilling history and pre-order yours now.