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Brora Marks Coming of Age with New 44-year-old Scotch Whisky

Marking the third anniversary of its reopening, Brora is ready to share the first Scotch whisky of its new era.

By Alex Martin

It has been a big year for the Scotch whisky industry, at least in the eyes of its biggest producer, Diageo. Hot on the heels of the reopening of Port Ellen, the company has marked a significant moment in another of its great revitalization projects, Brora. Reopened in 2021, Brora has passed an important milestone in its reawakening, with its first casks now officially known as Scotch whisky.

By the rules of the Scotch Whisky Association, whisky must be aged in an oak cask for at least three years before it can be defined as such. While that threshold has now been crossed, don’t expect a bottle anytime soon. Premium Scotch whisky usually ages for 12 years before distilleries consider bottling it while fine and rare whisky takes decades.

To keep you tied over until then. Brora has released something rather special: The Untold Depths 44 Year Old. This whisky comes from one of the few remaining casks from Brora’s lost era. The distillery closed suddenly in 1983 amid Scotch whisky’s last great downturn. Many casks remained untouched for decades, slowly morphing into some of the finest premium whisky ever produced.

[See also: This May be the Most Exclusive Whisky Tour in the World]

Brora distillery gates
Brora reopened in 2021 following decades of closure / ©Brora

Demand for Brora may be higher than ever, but a vanishingly small number of those casks remain and most of the liquid inside has gone to the angels. Underlining that, there are just 150 bottles of Untold Depths available for £10,000 ($12,070) a piece. To make it yet more elusive, you’ll have to journey to the distillery shop in the very north of Scotland to get one, as it’ll only be available to visitors.

The 44 Year Old comes from 1977, the heart of Brora’s ‘Age of Peat’. This period stretched from 1969 and 1981 and saw the distillers introduce peat into the production. It was largely an attempt to make the spirit more attractive to the blending market. While the experiment failed to keep the distillery alive, it also gave the spirit an extra dimension that helped it age well over decades. As the limited number of bottles suggests, it comes from a single cask and has a cask strength ABV of 49.1%.

[See also: The Most Exclusive Scotch Whisky Experiences]

Master blender Dr Craig Wilson said: “The second in a series of releases from the distillery, ‘Untold Depths’ is a classic pairing of a gentle cask and medium peating which explores the
full depth of taste of which Brora is capable. On the nose the whisky holds waxy hints of fragrant incense and green grape skins drift through light peat smoke, then dried herb and
scented oil slowly rising through a swirl of buttery toffee. Waxy-smooth, the sweet, lightly fruity taste reaches a long and fragrant finish with a pinch of white pepper.”

If you do make your way to Brora, make sure to book onto the Eras of Brora tour. This exclusive £900-per-person ($1,150) experience includes an in-depth look at the distillery’s past and present but also gives you a taste of the future with a sample of the intriguing three-year-old whisky. Andrew Flatt, Brora distillery host, said: “We see this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for guests to be amongst the first in the world to sample this whisky in over forty years.”

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Brora Untold Depths will only be available to distillery visitors / ©Brora

The Eras of Brora tour also includes a sample of the Triptych, a special set of three whiskies that was released to mark the reopening in 2021.

Brora Untold Depth 44 Year Old available from £10,000 ($12,070). To book a distillery tour, visit malts.com

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