Yapi HEBT1 Mystery Sample

Royal Brackla 1998 10yo DL for VCWC (Yapi’s Mystery Sample)

Along with the regular numbered samples in Yapi’s High End Blind Tasting, we also received an unmarked bottle. In it was the lightest in colour of all the samples, and on first nosing from the bottle it was clear this was out of the ordinary. People even speculated that it may not be a whisky at all…

The alcohol percentage is high, that is obvious both from the stinging nose and warming, prickly taste. The color is a very pale yellow, which together with the ABV makes one suspect a very young whisky.

In the nose, there is nothing to discredit this notion. Young, spirity, slight vanilla and fresh white fruits, but really nothing much to see here. At first. Because with a generous dollop of water and some time to open up, more aroma’s reveal themselves: floral notes, perfume, lemon, forest leaves, snuffed candles and resin. After all that, I still think it’s young, just not really really young.

The taste, again, starts off closed and prickly. A mineral note, some vanilla and a soft grainy touch. But add water, wait 15 minutes and there’s brine, grass, a slight nutty flavour which intensifies over time, liquorice root and salmiak.

Overall, my rating for this whisky (I’m pretty sure it is one after all) has risen throughout the tasting. It started out in the low 70s, but having taken my last sip just now and having thoroughly enjoyed it, it is now considerably higher. The complexity is not quite there yet, but balance-wise and in terms of ‘do I like this’, it gets high marks. Given enough water and plenty of time: 86 points

A footnote: The above score is as objective as possible. I would buy this over bottles I score several points higher, because this profile and youthful exuberance just does it for me.

Guesses: I think this is a young Clynelish @ 58% abv, which has spent 5-7 years in a refill ex-bourbon cask. 

Royal Brackla 10yo 56.8%
Distilled in October 1998
Bottled in May 2009
Douglas Laing for VCWC

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