By: David Othenin-Girard
K&L Staff Member
We often over look Braeval because it's not the sexiest malt. The workhouse malt for many blenders has a relatively good reputation, but has never been released as a single malt so consumers tend ignore it. But anytime we see it listed by it's original trade name we must take note because that means it's old! This is unquestionably the best Braes of Glenlivet I've ever had (admittedly I haven't had too many), but even beyond the oddity of seeing a cask of this stuff at this age, it's simply delicious malt. It has everything I want from a great old Speyside malt and much more. The nose starts with an absolutely gorgeous dark maltiness. Behind that sweet syrup of stone fruits, complex herbs, bitter barks and mint. Despite the high proof and not atypical of very old malt, this one improves much more with air than water. Even a drop of water seems to draw some astringency out. But if you keep adding you'll find it goes full circle into the pretty peaches and herbal tea thing we started at. That said, I'd recommend not touching this one with water if you can handle it. On the palate, tons of bold malty flavors, growing influence of the mint and dried herbs taking over. Hints of fruit and citrus remain, but they're thinly spread across a slice of rustic country bread, sprinkled in salt and mint. A truly exciting and almost profound little malt, just remember, NO WATER!