Braeval 19 (Chieftain’s 1996/2015 Red Wine Finish) Review

This is a 19 year Braeval that was finished in a red wine cask and bottled by Chieftain’s at 46% ABV.

Nose: Black cherry and grape bubbleyum, apple juice french vanilla, and milk chocolate – sweet and fruity.

Palate: Quit fruity up front before lots of pepper coming in to spice it up a bit. Vanilla and golden raisins complete the sweet profile.

Finish: Caramel & pecans with raisins – quite long and sweet.

Rating: 83/100 – This drank closer to a bourbon than a malt to me in terms of the sweeter notes. It wasn’t your typical ex-sherry profile.

Value for the money: This retailed around $110 I think, and while not too high a price, I wouldn’t buy a bottle of it personally.

Port Ellen 25 (Chieftain’s 1982/2005) Review

This is a 25 year Port Ellen expression bottled by Chieftain’s at 43% ABV.

Nose: Murky peat with old rubber, a sort of sweet smoke from a burning pile of leaves, tart tangerine cutting through the smoke, and some dry-roasted peanuts.

Palate: Very salty up front before a dominant artificial type smoke takes over. I imagine it would be like trying liquid smoke – very heavy handed and slightly off-putting. Some musty cardboard and peat peak out from behind the smoke.

Finish: Damp cardboard notes with tarry peat and the liquid smoke notes still in control.

Rating: 81/100 – I’ve only had a couple Port Ellens (never any of the OBs), and I’ve yet to be impressed by them really. This one has such a strange, intense smoke note that really knocked it down a few pegs for me. Nose was typicaly Islay fare (if not above average), but the smoke took over from there.

Value for the money: This looks to have originally retailed around $250. I’d certainly pass at that price or above.

Brora 30 (1981 Chieftain’s Cask #1523 K&L Selection) Review

This is a sherry finished Brora from K&L that was released a few years back. It’s a 30 year old expression that’s bottled at 54.6% ABV.

Nose: Bright & fruity with pineapple, figs, vanilla, creme brulee. Quite different overall from the typical earthy/farmy Brora notes. The sherry I presume masks a lot of those hay/grassy/farmy notes.

Palate: Big, rich sherry notes up front followed by black cherry, seasoned oak, plums, and raisins.

Finish: Sherry lingers on as the oak dries out and the heat intensifies – a bit of a black cherry cough syrup note stands out

Rating: 92/100 – Not sure I’m a huge fan of sherried Brora as it covers up a lot of the notes I really enjoy in a typical Brora. Still a great dram nonetheless.

Value for the money: These originally retailed for $250, which for Brora is dirt cheap. Not sure what they’d go for now, but I wouldn’t pay over $250 for it.