This Braeval bottling is one of 228 bottles, it’s definitely from an ex-Bourbon cask, I would guess a refill cask. Hot and sweet on the nose, a little bit drying, and fruity on the palate. Generalizing, it’s a nice pear-malt with a touch of meatiness. It’s like a great, cask-strength Old Pulteney, but with more blueberries.
Braeval was built in the 1970’s, under the title Braes of Glenlivet which they would change as a result of the mounting legal pressure on nearby just-Glenlivet to secure their identity and brand. The two distilleries were actually owned by the same company at the time. This cask was laid down in 1994, right around the time they changed their name, and then eight years later the distillery was mothballed. It was reopened in 2008, but hasn’t released an official bottling, yet.
I picked this bottle up at a tasting in West Springfield, Massachusetts, hosted by Ed Kohl from ImpEx Beverages Inc, the US importer for the brand. The presentation was pleasantly refreshing and the line up was awesome, so if you ever see the Creative Whisky Company or Exclusive Malts doing a tasting near you, you should definitely check it out. One of the most annoying experiences for me is listening to ambassadors go over the same tired and often-erroneous speech about how whisky is made. Ed actually had a very nice (and accurate) presentation put together.
Nose: Sweet! Grilled pineapple with a dollop of cilantro pesto. Blueberries, grapefruit peel and dusty pears. A little rendered beef fat. Sweet wood. For me, water unleashes more farminess and squashes all the interesting bits.
Palate: Blueberry cobbler and vanilla! Immediately hot. Lots of drying pear. Numbing clove and raspberries into the long finish. The hints of farminess translate into dry-aged beef in the vapors.