BTW - I should be at the Bow Bar on the evening of Oct. 9 if anyone will be in Edinburgh and would like to meet for a dram.
The only PE I've had was the 3rd release by Diego (24yr old CS) that was the best whisky I've ever had! I've been eyeing a 20yr old PE from D. Laing's platinum series, but $300 Cdn is a lot for a bottle - especially as I would be buying the bottle on faith!
As for anything else, I would be tempted to try a St. Magdalene malt. Also from a distillery no longer producing. Never tried one, but there has been enough opinions posted to get me interested...
That's my only contribution Ron. Good luck. Good choices BTW!
Whichever you choose, I'd say go with a cask strength bottling--the Rare Malts ones I've had have been very good. You will probably get better value for a Brora, as there hasn't been quite so much hype around it.
I had a Douglas Laing OMC Brora in the Craig the other night, and it was profound. You may well have the chance to try a few different things in the Bow to help you make up your mind.
The few Port Ellens I've tried (only three different ones in total, I'm afraid) were good and enjoyable whiskies, but - at the end of the day - they were just typical Islay malts. If you'd told me I was drinking Caol Ila or an older Bowmore, I'd have believed you.
Brora, on the other hand, is a bit more unique. It's wonderfully "Highland" in style, with beautiful coastal characteristics that, IMHO, are only found elsewhere in Clynelish (obviously), Talisker, and perhaps Highland Park. Whilst there's a hint of peat in there, the general complexity of Brora malts always amaze me.
If I was asked to describe Brora, I'd say, "Take the best elements of Speyside and stick them into a great Island malt like Highland Park."
I've had many Broras, and they've all been great.
And perhaps most importantly, as mentioned by others above, Brora doesn't quite attract the same ridiculous prices that PE bottlings do.
During her lifetime Brora experimented with peat levels.
There are a few different takes on this one.....
I was recently informed by a reliable source that United Distillers (Diageo now) accidentally stuffed up its malt distribution, and peated malt that was supposed to go to Lagavulin, Port Ellen and Caol Ila somehow found its way to Brora unintentionally.
By the time they realised, the whisky had been distilled and filled into cask! Any subsequent experimentation that occurred afterwards was apparently due to this mistake.
The other (more common) story is that when one or two of UD's Islay distilleries closed down for refurbishment, Brora was used to make peated whisky until the Islay distillery(s) came back on line.
Distillery managers are judged by their employers on the quality of there new make so everything is carefully checked before distilling to make sure it's in order, I find it hard to believe that they would miss an entire batch of peated malt. I have also read that the peated runs were done while Caol Ila was being refurbished.
I'll see if I can find a reliable answer to the question.
somehow we stray but anyway, here goes.
It would seem that the usage of more peat was fully intentional at Brora between 1968 and closure in 1983 but that the peat levvels were changed from time to time on demand. The older Broras, especially the 1970ies Broras seem to have been the most peated. In the 1980ies the peat level went down.
"Lagavulin of the North" not bad, eh?
Admiral, I have read of the second explanation but never the first and I'm more inclined to believe the second.
I don't blame you! The first explanation does sound quite improbable, but then again, such events are not unheard of in whisky:
*Ardbeg/Glen Moray Serendipity
* Consider some of the theories behind Bowmore FWP (i.e. "accidentally" putting perfumed soap into the wash);
*Heavily peated Bunnahabhain, when the distillery had no record of purchasing peated malt when the distillation run occurred. (As described in one of JM's earlier books)
I don't particularly want to reveal who told me the first theory, but let's just describe him as an "industry figurehead".
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