Royal Brackla 33 Years Old 1976 Mackillop’s Choice

Royal Brackla 33 Years Old 1976/2010 (43%, Mackillop’s Choice, Cask #6920)

  • Highland single malt scotch whisky
  • 43% ABV, £90 for 70cl
  • Score: 87/100

What they say:

Distilled at the Royal Brackla Distillery in the Speyside [sic] region on 10 October 1976 and was bottled from cask number 6920 in June 2010.


What I say:

I couldn’t resist the temptation of two birds with one stone, my birth year whisky coupled with ticking off a sample from a distillery I hadn’t tried before. Royal Brackla is one of the few [3 to be precise] distilleries permitted to officially use ‘Royal’ in its name is one of the lesser heard of Highland distilleries. Not only was the distillery closed between 1985 to 1991, the previous owners [UDV] only official bottling was a 10 year old Flora and Fauna. The distillery was bought by Bacardi-Martini in 1998 via John Dewar & Sons Ltd to produce spirit for blending in Dewar’s whisky blends. Maturing stock was not part of the buy-out deal and the new owners took until 2004 to launch their own Royal Brackla 10 Year old [still hard to find and possibly sold only through the distillery]. This bottling from Mackillop’s Choice was distilled in the fabulous year of 1976! I picked up a 3cl from Drinks by the Dram for the princely sum of £7.55 [pardon the royal pun].


Pale yellow gold


Lightly peated with a hint of smooth smoke, peanut, slight oaky wood, brown sugar, vanilla and flower pollen


Smooth rich buttery caramel followed by a chlorine/swimming pool chemical flavour redolent of copper and fireworks, there are also hints of apples, and candy floss.


The finish is long, salty and sulphuric which is strangely mellow and refreshing with hints of blackcurrant

Would I buy it again:

Both the colour and taste suggest refill bourbon barrel for this one, or minimal bourbon influence at least. Some of the chemical character of the distillate comes through in this but it is not unpleasant – perhaps just indicative of how single malts were being produced back in the 1970’s. I am now really keen to discover how the newer Royal Brackla expressions stand up to this aged beauty? I will definitely be seeking out more from this Distillery.

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