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Diageo unveil Brora Triptych ahead of the historic return of the ghost distillery

In news that's set to delight whisky fans that love a rare malt, Diageo has unveiled a range of one-off special releases from the famous ghost distillery, Brora.

Published: April 7, 2021
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Brora Triptych is a celebration of the distillery, which is set to reopen in mid-May, heralding a new chapter in its history.

Originally known as Clynelish, production began in Brora Distillery on the north-east coast of Scotland in 1819 with the backing of the Marquess of Stafford.

In the late 1960s it was decided to expand production by building a new distillery, with the old distillery eventually being used to supply a need for heavily peated whisky for blending.

Between 1972-74 production of ‘Brora’ was in batches, becoming regular in 1975 when the distillery itself was officially renamed Brora. It was however only produced until 1983, when the distillery was closed.

The distillery workers that had crafted spirit within it put down their tools and walked away, for what they thought would be for good.

Brora Triptych

A distillery suspended in time for thirty-eight years, Brora will soon open its gates once again, after three years of meticulous brick by brick restoration by owners Diageo.

To celebrate this, fans of the rare whisky can now buy these three releases from the Brora Triptych collection that showcase the distillery's famous styles - Brora ‘Elusive Legacy’ 1972, 48-Year-Old, Brora ‘Age of Peat’ 1977, 43-Year-Old and Brora ‘Timeless Original’ 1982, 38-Year-Old.

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Each collectible set of the Brora Triptych will be accompanied by a personal invitation from Brora’s master distiller Stewart Bowman to visit and experience Brora first-hand.

Born in the town of Brora and with a long family connection to the distillery, Stewart Bowman worked alongside a host of artisans, whisky-makers and archivists in the restoration of the distillery buildings and its whisky and will carefully oversee the creation of new Brora spirit upon its return.

Speaking of the release, Stewart said: "The stories of Brora are woven into my own history and I am honoured to soon be able to share these stories with others.

"My father was an ‘old hand’ at the distillery, and I grew up in the village with the top of the distillery’s bell-tower visible from our kitchen window.

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"In the years after Brora’s closure, I remember my father showing me the old cask ledgers and the records of those final casks distilled in 1983 and asking if Brora would return one day.

"It fills me with great pride that thirty-eight years after the doors of Brora closed, more casks will now be filled, and we will be able to welcome people once again to this special place.

"It is our commitment that we will do justice to the Brora of old and hope to welcome visitors to our restored home as soon as that is possible.

"In the Brora Triptych, we aimed to celebrate the great whisky styles of the past for which Brora is known."

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Master blender Dr. Craig Wilson has selected the vintage Single Malt whiskies in the Triptych, and commented: "These are some of our very last precious relics from a Brora of bygone age.

"Each one represents a moment in time at the distillery and tasting these superb whiskies is to be part of a special moment in history.

"When selecting the casks for these rare bottlings, we wanted to celebrate those distinct characteristics that define Brora, and those that we seek to uphold as we begin a new chapter in its story."

What's in the Brora Triptych collection?

The first in the Brora Triptych, Elusive Legacy, is a 48-Year-Old and the oldest ever public release from the distillery.

A very rare style from casks of 1972, this whisky represents an earthy expression of Brora, much sought after as it was only created in short periods throughout the distillery’s history.

Warm chestnut in colour, there is a delicate aroma which blends wood spice with hints of peach tarte tatin, amidst a powerful rich maltiness.

The second, Age of Peat, is a 43-Year-Old heavily peated expression drawn from casks of 1977.

This is a classic Brora style from the late 70’s, and one of the only examples of a highly-peated Highland whisky from that era.

The few casks that were left from this phase matured remarkably well and the whisky is multi-layered and complex.

Intensely deep and golden, this expression is elegant on the nose with creamy vanilla invigorated by freshly cut green apples and hints of beeswax, before a long, sweet finish of peat-fired smokiness.

Finally, Timeless Original, is a 38-Year-Old, from limited stocks of 1982 and represents the distinct waxiness that made Brora famous.

This more modern and refined style returns to lower peating levels, reflective of Brora whisky before the Age of Peat.

Glowing yellow gold in hue, sherberty lemon peel, and a touch of fresh green grass dance on the nose.

The three Single Malt whiskies are presented in a luxury case, inspired by Brora’s surrounding coastlines.

Each crystal bottle is completed with Glencairn crystal stoppers, and the cabinet, built from ash wood all sourced in the UK, was crafted by master cabinetmaker and Royal Warrant Holder N. E. J. Stevenson.

Released at the same time as the distillery reopens, this once-in-a-generation collector’s set will be available globally for purchase directly from the distillery, online and specialist retailers from mid-May 2021.

The recommended retail selling price for the Triptych is £30,000 (including tax and duty) in UK. Bottle sizes: 50cl.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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