About this SPIRIT
Royal Brackla Distillery, Highlands
The Brackla distillery was built in 1812 by Captain William Fraser of Brackla House on the Cawdor estate, which was the setting for Shakespeare’s Macbeth, thane of Cawdor. At the time, the district was notorious for illicit whisky production, so much so that Captain Fraser complained that we was surrounded by people who drank nothing but whisky yet he could not sell 100 gallons in a year.
In 1835 William IV granted Brackla a Royal warrant – the first distillery to enjoy this distinction – proclaiming it to be his favourite whisky. At that time it became known as ‘Royal Brackla’ or ‘The King’s Own Whisky’. The warrant was renewed by Queen Victoria in 1838, for it is indeed a whisky fit for a Sovereign and Thane.
The distillery was modernised in 1965, extended in 1970, closed between 1983 and 1991, and further improved in 1997. The process water is drawn from the Cursack Springs above Cawdor Castle, and its cooling water from Cawdor Burn, and it uses lightly peated barley supplied to order. It operates a large stainless steel, full Lauter mash tun, six Oregon pine and two stainless steel washbacks and four large stills. Unusually the wooden washbacks each have a stainless steel cover instead of wooden ones; and the two stainless steel washbacks are located outside. The fermentation is relatively long, typically 72 hours. The wort is clear, and the tall stills have upwardly inclining lyne arms to encourage reflux, hence the light spirit results. The whisky is largely matured in ex-bourbon American Oak casks with some sherry casks being used for malts.
Royal Brackla’s location classification is a matter of confusion for some whisky lovers, as some consider it to be a Speyside distillery; however, on the whole it is generally regarded to be part of the Northern Highlands.
To some Speyside represents the jewel in whisky’s crown. Speyside is the home of legal whisky production and it’s best known examples. Around the world Glenlivet, Macallan, Glenfiddich, Glenrothes and Glenfarclas typify all that whisky, at it’s best has to offer. At it’s heart running from the Monadhliath mountains north to the sea, is the River Spey. It is the fastest flowing river in Britain, and also well known for its salmon fishing.
Speyside is the principal whisky-producing region: Speyside has within it some forty-six operating distilleries - over half the total number in the entire Scotland.
Speysides are essentially sweet whiskies. They have little peaty character They are typically highly perfumed, feminine and elegant.
The classical nature of Speyside’s malts means that a number of the finest malts are used almost exclusively for blending. It is the top Speysider’s that give good blends their ‘Top Dressing’.
Malts such as Mortlach, Glen Elgin, Strathmill and Benrinnes are rarely found as distillery bottlings, however when individual casks are tracked down by independent bottlers such as our Own Selection Single Malt Whiskies the resultant whisky can be quite wonderful.