Sunday, 13 June 2021
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Sunday, 9 May 2021
Sunday, 2 May 2021
My first experience with Braes of Glenlivet (a.k.a. Braeval Distillery) single malt, and it was bottled over 25 years ago!
Braes of Glenlivet, renamed to Braeval Distillery in 1994, is a relatively young distillery that was founded in 1972 in the Ballindalloch area of Speyside. Why the name change? To avoid any confusion or being associated with Glenlivet Distillery, which was and is owned by the same parent company as Braeval. It was founded by Chivas, then part of Seagrams, which became part of Pernod Ricard in 2000. As was often the case with these less famous and often neglected distilleries the new owners elected to close the distillery just over a year later, and it remained 'mothballed' for six years before resuming production. As is also often the case with these less famous distilleries, the vast majority of their production - over four million litres of spirit annually - goes in to the parent company's blended whiskies, in this case the likes of Ballantine's and Chivas Regal, and single malt official bottlings are almost impossible to find with only three examples in existence - a 25, 27 and 30-year old, released as part of Chivas Brother's "Secret Speyside" range of limited releases from their lesser known distilleries. Interestingly, despite being released within the last couple of years those official bottlings are labelled as Braes of Glenlivet, not Braeval, which seems a strange and somewhat dubious choice! Even independent bottlings aren't seen very often from this remote distillery. Braeval is not open to the public and has no visitor's centre, and it's production methods aren't particularly remarkable with six conventional pot stills, two wash and four spirit, all equipped with onion-shaped reflux balls and upward-angled lyne arms designed to produce a lighter spirit. The distillery's main claim to fame is that it is the highest in Scotland by elevation, albeit only surpassing Dalwhinnie by only a couple of metres. The latter is still often referred to as the highest in Scotland, probably only because very few people have heard of Braeval, let alone are aware of it's elevation. Does it really matter which is highest? No, of course not; it's essentially a marketing tactic. But higher elevation does have an effect on the production and maturation at those distilleries, thanks to differences in air pressure, humidity and temperature.
Sunday, 25 April 2021
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