At 34 yo this one is probably the older Brora around but that may change in the future.
Colour: pure gold.
Nose: this one is probably more discrete at first nosing, more restrained than all the other ones. It’s also the first one that shows signs of age although it’s very far from being tired (almost 57% at 34 yo is quite a lot anyway). There’s also kind of a maritime freshness mixed with notes of almonds like in the very old Caol Ilas (from the 60’s) but we also have quite some fresh mint right at first nosing as well as notes of iodine, wax, marzipan, linseed oil, maybe hints of turpentine, old apples, wine cellar… Something that reminds me old amontillados (well, I had that only once in my life actually). Oh, and now there’s a little incense, cedar wood, burning herbs (thyme and such)… it gets more and more complex with time… Old books, wax polish, peanut butter… And then we’re back to almonds and walnuts… And mint! Again, just superb.
Mouth: ho-ho, lots of oomph now, with an attack on fresh walnuts, almonds and grape skin plus something camphory and minty again. Goes on with candied lemon, green tea, mastic, argan oil, not too sugared nougat, marzipan… And the kind of superb ‘evolved’ peatiness that you can get in the very old Ardbegs, Caol Ilas or Lagavulins distilled in the 60’s or before, I think. Okay, agreed, enough maltoporn – this one lacked just a little backbone when compared with all the other ones but hey, it’ll still defeat many old Islayers in fact. Head and shoulders. 92 points
Nose: a perfect triumvirate of olive oil, tar and seawater. Beyond that there’s this rather wonderful unfolding waxiness - citronella candles - sandalwood, putty and a sort of mint flavoured cough medicine. Gorse, beach pebbles, driftwood, acrylic paints and an increasingly prominent honeyed quality, like some kind of very old, salty mead. These 1970s are really quite distinct and separate from the 1972s I think. With water: more specifically towards brine and olive oil now, also preserved lemons, canvass, mustard powder and salted almonds. Greater subtlety, complexity and depth with reduction. Also more herbal but dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme and sage. Some impressions of moorland with things like heather flowers, gorse, bog cotton and an ethereal peaty quality.
Mouth: remarkably elegant and gentle arrival, the power of the alcohol is there but wonderfully restrained by the age. And everything is stilling in perfect harmony with the wood which is pitch perfect here. Again this sense of honey, wax, smoke, seawater, petrol and lightly tarry notes. A few more farmyard attributes on the palate and also a sharper acidity and a more punchy herbal presence. With water: gains a superbly vivid fattiness. Honey, creosote, natural tar liqueur, smoked olive oil, tapenades, lemon wax, salted pistachio nuts and some rather thick mineral oil. Harmoniously complex and elegant now with many soft, fragrant, rather herbal smoky qualities. Herbal teas, roots, crushed seashells, medical embrocations and plaster.
Finish: long, resinous smokiness, mead, tar, matcha, a rather petrolic minerality and a fantastically syrupy, mustardy peatiness. Comments: For me, I think of these 1970 bottlings as being more like a peated version of old Clynelish, whereas I feel the 1972s are more singular and express a more individualistic style which stands truly apart. This one was totally brilliant. Deeply complex and with a compellingly retrained power. I’d also add that it remains stunningly fresh for the age.