Braeval – 1998 – 12 Year Old – Signatory Cask Strength – Single Malt Scotch Whisky | 56.9% (113.8 Proof)
Intro: This review is from a sample received in a trade with the internationally famous Florin. Thank you fine sir.
Color/Appearance: Very pale gold and natural looking. Bourbon barrels certainly used here and thanks to the independent bottler no colorant or chill filtration. I do miss seeing the actual bottle. The design really helps to set the expectations, though these Signatory bottles all look about the same. All of my previous reviews have come from personally owned bottles and usually I get about a third of the way through it before I write an official review. So the small sample here is a challenge for me but one that I know is important to accept.
Nose: Honeycomb, apple, melon, lime, a grassy field and some butter. This has a very light nose, not lacking in interesting scents but featuring many notes that are hard to tease out. I have rather enjoyed taking my time nosing this whisky. Its lack of directness is also its charm.
Palate: Comes in a little hot but its power serves it well, amplifying its light profile in unexpected ways. Notes of fennel and Sichuan peppercorns nearly numb your tongue giving it a strange peat like medicinal quality. Creamy and richer than the light color and nose would suggest with some lemon and coriander with a hint of vanilla wafers.
Finish: Spicy and medium in length with sandalwood and oak drying things out. Again in the finish there is that sense that my tongue has been medicated.
Overall: This is an interesting one to try but not one that I would highly suggest. I know that this is used in a good number of blends and I imagine that with the right mix its confluence of power and intensity with light scent could add some depth and interest. Alas on its own it is lacking in harmony. The nose and the palate are rather disjointed and this would not be so bad if the palate had more notes that appeal to me directly. There may be a reason that the name of Braeval is not sung from the highest hilltops. It is nice to try something from such an obscure distillery and it really shows you how many great distilleries are out there. I do find the nose on this rather pleasing and imagine that with some more time to mature the palate would come around. Thanks again to Florin for the sample.