INFO FROM THE HOUSE OF DEWAR Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Royal Brackla Distillery, Cawdor, Nairn
ROYAL BRACKLAINFO Age 17 years
57,2 % SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY FROM A SINGLE CASK Date Distilled: 26th ep 1997 Cask Type: Refill Hogshead / ex Bourbon Outturn: One of Only 279 Bottles Society Single Cask:
Code: 5 5 . 2 7 The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, The Vaults, Leith, Edinburgh "Sugar and spice"
Highland Malt The Northern Highlands ROYAL BRACKLA (1812)
Nair, Morayshire. Licentiehouder: John Bisset & Co, Ltd. Onderdeel van Scottish Malt Distil-lers Ltd. (S.M.D.) De malt divisie van United Distillers Ltd. Het Eigendom van Guinness.
Omstreeks 1773 zou hier al een mouterij en bierbrouwerij hebben gestaan.
In 1812 werd Brackla distilleerderij gesticht door Captain William Fraser. Aanvankelijk had Brackla had moeilijk om zich staande te houden ten opzichte van de vele illegale distilleerderijen. In 1821 vertelde Captain Fraser een parlements commissie dat hij nog geen 100 Gallons whisky had verkocht in een straal van 120 mijl rondom de distilleerderij. Hij ging op zoek naar, en vond afzetgebied in de Lowlands want de produktie groeide van 14.688 liter in 1821 - 1822 tot 95.818 liter whisky in 1833. Aan accijnzen betaalde hij in die jaren respectievelijk E 1,573 em E 6,128.
Captain William Frasen was de eerste distillateur die een 'Royal Warrant of Appointment' kreeg, dat was in 1835, en werd verleend door Koning William IV, dit werd herhaald door Koningin Victoria op 15 November 1881 Vanaf 1844 was Andrew Usher & Co, te Edinburgh, de handelsagenten van Royal Brackla en dit zou voortduren tot aan het eind van de eeuw.
Andrew Usher geldt als de uitvinder van de Proprietary brands, de eerste blended whisky, die werd gemengd door een handelshuis, als garantie voor kwaliteit. Het merk bestaat nog steeds.
Usher was ook aandeelhouder in Royal Brackla. De whisky werd in die jaren met een stoomtreintje naar het spoorwegstation gebracht, ongeveer acht en een halve kilometer van Royal Brackla, die op de terugweg kolen vervoerde ten behoeve van de distilleerderij. Het water voor de distilleerderij kwam toen van de Cawdor Burn.
In 1890 verleende Lord Cawdor de eigenaars een nieuwe huurovereenkomst, De eigenaars toen waren Andrew Usher (de zoon van) James Anderson, een wijnhandelaar te Leith en Walter Vockburn te Nairn.
Toen in 1898 Andrew Usher overleed, werd de firma opgevolgd door The Brackla Distillery Co, Ltd die op hun beurt de huurovereenkomst overdeden aan John Mitchell en James Leith, wijn-handelaren te Aberdeen., ^ . In 1926 gingen deze rechten over in de handen van John Bisset & Co, Ltd te Aberdeen. In 1938 ging Royal Brackla over in de handen van Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. Gedurende de tweede wereldoorlog was Royal Brackla gesloten.
In 1964 ging Royal Brackla opnieuw dicht, nu om een grote verbouwing mogelijk te maken. In 1965 werd Royal Brackla weer opgestart. In 1970 werd er uitgebreid met twee ketels tot vier, verhit met stoom en de kapaciteit werd meer dan twee miljoen liter spirit per jaar.
De tegenwoordige waterbron voor het proceswater is de Cursack Burn. Op 28 Maart 1998 verkoopt Diageo het merk Dewar aan Bacardi Martini, dit moest van de Amerikaanse mededingingsautoriteiten om de fusie mogelijk te maken van United Distillers met Grand Metropolitan. Onderdeel van deze verkoop houdt ook in dat Bacardi Martini ook eigenaar wordt van Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie en Royal Brackla.
Het water komt van de Vowdor Burn. De Mash tun is 11,5 ton. De zes Wash backs zijn elk 60.000 liter. De twee Wash stills hebben elk een inhoud van 22.000 liter, de Spirit stills elk 21.000 liter en worden met stoom verhit. De capaciteit is 2.000.000 liter spirit per jaar.
Diageo has announced that its 2005 Annual Rare Malts Selection will be the last.
The collection will consist of four cask strenght single malts from closed distilleries; Glen Mhor 28 years old, Millburn 35 years old, Glendullan 26 years old and Linkwood 30 years old. Dr. Nicholas Morgan, global malts marketing director commented: 'As the Special Releases are now well established, it makes less sence to continue selecting and promoting a parallel series of Rare Malts with his own separate indentity'. In future, all premium and rare whiskies will be made available in the annual Special Re-leases series.
Royal Brackla Distillery is set in a district of gentle hills and open spaces of heath, broken by belts of pine-wood, and swept by invigorating winds from the Moray Firth, which give (some think) a cleansing purity to its make. In this coastal plain, between Inverness and Forres, Shakespeare set the main scenes of Macbeth.
A map drawn in 1773 for the Cawdor Estate shows a "malt brewhouse" on the site where Brackla Distillery was established in 1812. The founder was Captain William Fraser of Brackla House. In common with other licensed distillers, he had to compete on unequal terms with operators of illicit stills who paid noduty on their products. He told a parliamentary commission in 1821 that he had "not sold 100 gallons for consumption within 120 miles of his residence during the past year, though people drank nothing but whisky". To keep the distillery going, he had to develop markets in the Lowlands. Thus in 1828 an advertisement in the Aberdeen Chronicle announced that Captain Fraser of Brackla had "made an arrangement to have this much admired spirit sent up by land, when a regular supply can be had weekly". There must have been substantial demand to justify the higher cost of land carriage compared with sea transport; and indeed the excise records show that Brackla's production rose from 5,660 gallons (14,688 litres), with duty of £1,573 paid in 1821-22 to 36,924 gallons (95,818 litres), with duty of £6,128 paid, in 1833.
This change of fortune owed much to the Excise Act of 1823, which eased the restrictions imposed on licensed distillers and reduced the duty on spirits from an excessive to a moderate level.
Fraser seems to have adopted a cavalier attitude to the regulations prescribed by H.M. Customs & Excise. They fined him £50 in 1827, £300 in 1831 and £500 in 1836 and fined William Fraser & Co. £200 in 1839 and £600 in 1844. The nature of the offences is not known, but they had no adverse effect on trade. Fraser was the first whisky distiller to get a Royal Warrant of Appointment, granted by King William IV in 1835, as a fulsome advertisement in a London newspaper, The Morning Chronicle, informed readers on 20 January 1835:
"BRACKLA, or THE KING'S OWN WHISKY - His Majesty having been pleased to distinguish this 'by his Royal Command to supply his establishment' has placed this whisky first on the List of British Spirits, and when known should in truth be termed 'The Drink Divine' - only to be had of the Importers, Graham & Co., New Road, facing the Mary-la-bone Workhouse". The "Royal" prefix to the name of the distillery has been used ever since. A Royal Warrant of Appointment to Queen Victoria was granted on 15 November 1838.
From about 1844 until the end of the century, the sales agents for Royal Brackla were Andrew Usher & Co., whisky merchants, of Edinburgh. In the 1860's this firm introduced the practice of blending malt and grain whiskies to produce "proprietary brands" sold under the blender's name as a guarantee of quality. The Ushers, with the Frasers, were partners in Royal Brackla Distillery, so it may be taken as certain that the distillery's make was a constituent of the earliest brands of blended Scotch whisky sold to the public.
The make continued to enjoy favour. A native of Nairn, James Augustus Grant, accompanied the explorer Captain Speke on his last journey to discover the sources of the Nile, and wrote to his sister in 1860: "We jog on in that most dreaded of countries, Africa, in the most easy way - feeling after our dinners as comfortable as if we had our legs under your table drinking 'Brackla' ". Alfred Barnard described the premises in The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom, 1887, as "several ranges of old and new buildings, covering upwards of four acres of ground... The proprietors have provided a good house for the manager, and convenient dwellings for the workpeople. The whisky is carted to the station six miles distant by a traction engine which brings back coals from Nairn. It is necessary to have a large supply of this fuel, as it is not an uncommon occurrence in winter to be cut offRoyal Brackla Distillery
from all communication by snow-drifts for a fortnight at a time ... There are three ponds or reservoirs close to the works, and most picturesquely situated, shaded by willow trees and fed by the waters of the Cawdor Burn". Both water and steam power were used, and annual output was 0 gallons.
At the time of Barnard's visit, the owners were Robert Fraser & Co. In 1890 Lord Cawdor granted a lease of the distillery to the partners of that firm: Andrew Usher (the second of that name and the one who gave Edinburgh Corporation the funds to build the Usher Hall), his brother, the future Sir John Usher, founder of the John Usher Institute of Public Health in Edinburgh, James Anderson, wine merchant, of Leith, and Walter Cockburn of Nairn. The distillery was rebuilt in the same year.
In 1898, when the second Andrew Usher died, Robert Fraser & Co. was succeeded by The Brackla Distillery Co. Ltd. which in turn made over its rights in the lease to John Mitchell and James Leith, wholesale wine merchants in Aberdeen. A further change of ownership took place in 1926 when these rights passed to John Bisset & Co. Ltd. of Aberdeen. This company obtained a feu charter in 1938, and sold the distillery to Scottish Malt Distillers Ltd. in 1943.
Brackla had to close for three years in the course of the second world war as a result of Government restrictions on the supply of barley to distillers. It closed again, in 1964, for major reconstruction and re-planning. When it re-opened in 1965, its two hand-fired stills had been converted to internal heating by steam from a coal-fired boiler. The number of stills was increased to four, all steam-heated, and the boiler converted to oil, in 1970. New racked warehouses, built in 1975, contrast with the older warehouses of the traditional type still in use on the site.
Water for distilling and mashing purposes is drawn, as it always has been, from the Cawdor Burn. An underground supply, created when an airfield was built in the course of the second world war, was acquired by SMD in 1965 and is used exclusively for cooling spirit vapour.
The distillery stands on a site of 12 acres (5 hectares). SMD owns 10 houses for occupation by employees. The distiller's licence is held by John Bisset & Co. Ltd., of Edinburgh, a member of The Distillers Company Limited Group.
Royal Brackla first received a Royal Warrant of Appointment by King William IV in 1835, establishing Brackla as 'as the King's own whisky', then a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria in 1838, Royal Brackla holds the distinction of being the very first distillery to receive the regal seal of approval.
Built in 1812 by Captain William Fraser of Brackla House and sitting proudly on the Cawdor Estate, the setting for Shakespear's tragedy Macbeth, Royal Brackla Distillery is steeped in history. It was and remains to this day, a popular blending malt and was at the heart of the very early Scotch whiskies sold to the public.
The distillery has a unique element in that there are no other distilleries in the area, the nearest being Forres some 13 miles away.
In 1821 Captain Fraser complained to a Parliamentary commission that he was not able to sell whisky within 120 miles because of a number of illicit stills in the area.
Despite this, Captain Fraser developed markets in the Lowlands and excise records show that Royal Brackla produced 36.924 gallons = 167000 litres in 1833.
On approach to the distillery, the entrance road is defined by tall trees on either side, leading to the site office, where Distillery Manager Stewart Christine sits proudly overlooking the attractive distillery dam.
Following in his father's foorsteps, Stewart began working in the distillery in 1990 as an Operator;
his father was the Manager there from 1983 - 1985 then from 1991 - 1995.
Among Stewart's collection of historical distillery artefacts is an old aerial photograph of Brackla airfield, which was built on the estate during the Second World War, and operated as a relief landing ground for R A F Dalcross. In 1945 hundreds of surplus aircraft including Halifax bombers were ferried to the airfield and scapped. Taken on 9th October 1946, by the Royal Air Force during the post - war national aerial survey of the U K, it clearly shows 232 Halifaxes, 129 Wellingtons and 3 Lancasters.Gaps in the rows of aircraft and a sizeable pile of scrap to the Southeast indicate that the breaking process was well under way by this date.
By the 1860s Andrew Usher & Co became partners in the distillery, and the lease changed hands again in 1898, when the company sold the distillery to John Mitchell & James Leict of Aberdeen. After completely rebuilding the distillery, is wa sold in 1926, then again in 1943,
before being rebuilt once again in 1966 under S M D (Scottish Malt Distillers) at which point the floor maltings were closed and most of the original buildings were demolished.
In 1968, the number of stills were increased from two to four and continued steady production up to 1985 when Royal Brackla distillery was mothballed along with many others as a result of S M D's stock take findings.
The distillery reopened again in December 1990 under United Distillers, with coopering and cask filling ceasing in 1995
Two years later in 1997, United Distillers gave the distillery a complete overhaul, installing New grain handling, a full Lauter mash tun and new vessels. The whole process control was also computerised to help keep consistency with the character of spirit
In 1998 during the merger of United Distillers - owned Guiness and Grand Metropolitan, the Dewars brand was sold as a requirement set down by the Monopolies Commission.
Royal Brackla Distillery along with 3 other Guinness owned Distilleries were then sold to Bacardi and the company John Dewar & Sons Ltd was reignited.
Bacardi have invested in all of their sites since 1998 which is evident by looking at the dis- tilleries, with each Manager taking ownership of their own individual site and taking pride in all that they do.
At Royal Brackla the water for distilling is fed from the Cawdor Burn and the mashing water
is fed from natural springs within the Cawdor Woods.
The Porteus mill produces 12.5 tonnes of grist, which is then transferred into large stainless steel, Lauter mashtun. Using slurried yeast the wortd are then left to ferment in 6 wooden
and 2 external stainless steel wash backs for a minimum period of 70 hours. The stainless steel wash backs were introduced to allow longer fermentation, which assists in ensuring a light character. Each washback receives 60.000 litres of wort. Two wash stills with a working capacity
of 20.000 litres stand proudly beside 2 traditionally shaped tall spirit stills, with a working capacity of 22.000 litres, all of which are cooled by upright Condensers that work together to encourage a lot of reflux, producing a light, grassy and cereal noted new make spirit.
The distillery is currently (2010) running at full capacity with 17 mashes per week and 3,9
million litres of alcohol per annum, which is filled into tankers and matured elsewhere.
In 2003 under new consents laid down from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Royal Brackla Distillery became one of the only three distilleries to have a copper extrac- tion plant installed to facilitate the extraction of copper from the spent lees before it is
transferred direct from the distillery to the Moray Firth
Recent focus has been to reduce energy usage with various heat recovery systems being added.
The year 2012 will see her Majesty the Queen celebrate her Diamond Jubilee - 60 years as Britain's Ruling Monarch. To mark the event it is expected that Britain will throw the London Olympics. But whilst the nation celebrate 60 years of the Queen's reign, anniver- sary celebrations will also grace Royal Brackla Distillery, given that 2012 will see the distillery celebrate its 200th anniversary.
John Dewar & Sons launches Last Great Malts collection September, 2014
John Dewar & Sons has announced plans to release a range of new expressions and single malts.
Aultmore, Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, The Deveron and Royal Brackla will be launched under the "Last Great Malts" title - each release featuring an age statement.
The single malts will be released in phases as a complete set of five or in various combinations of the expressions in 10 initial markets around the world including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States and Global Travel Retail.
Stephen Marshall, single malts global marketing manager, said: "We have been patiently reserving casks and are now ready to share the five distinguished malts with whisky lovers around the world. "Up until now, these amazing liquids have been Scotland's best-kept secret, known only to a few. Now we're appealing to single malt drinkers - people who like stories and enthusiasts who are interested in exploring the aromas of the world's most complex spirit."
Marshall told "If you ask whether we are doing it, the answer is probably yes."
Aultmore 12-year-old will be available from November with a 21-year-old Travel retail and 25-year-old released in limited qualities. Aberfeldy is repackaged and available globally as a 12-year-old and 21-year-old, with an 18-year-old Travel Retail exclusive. A 16-year-old sherry finish and 30-year-old is set for a 2015 launch. Craigellachie - a portfolio released for the first time - will be available a 13-year-old, 17-year-old, 19-year-old travel retail and limited 23-year-old. In summer 2015, The Deveron 12-, 18- and 25-year-old single malts will be released.
Previously released as a limited edition 35-year-old £10,000 a bottle, Royal Brackla will be released in March as 12-year-old, 16-year-old and 21-year-old expressions. John Burke, dark spirits category director, said: "The single malt category is one of our industry's great growth opportunities. We are blessed with five of Scotland's finest, high-quality whiskies. "We have great respect for the category and are confident that each of the Last Great Malts will be a fitting addition to the repertoire of the most discerning single malt enthusiast." The first showing of the Last Great Malts single malt collection will be at Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival starting on September 25
Dewar launches new Royal Brackla expressions August, 2015
John Dewar & Sons has announced three new Royal Brackla expressions, a 12, 16 and 21 year old. The single malt will be available initially in 10 markets from September. They include: nada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States and global travel retail (GTR). Bacardi's global marketing manager - single malts Stephen Marshall, said: "This is the one that was described as 'The Drink Divine' by the royal household in the 1830s, that's no small claim, so we had to take our time and the entire team have done an amazing job that really does justice to Royal Brackla's incredible heritage. There's only one whisky in the world that can be the first Royal whisky." Claiming to be one of Scotland's oldest distilleries, the Royal Brackla distillery was established in 1812 by the a Captain William Fraser who returned to the family farm after military service and took advantage of the barley it grew. Within 25 years his distillery's reputation received its 'crowning moment' when King William IV bestowed 'royal' status to Brackla, in 1835. It thus became the first ever scotch to garner a royal warrant, hence its nickname: 'The king's own whisky'.
Tasting Notes: Royal Brackla 12 Year Old (40% abv): Almonds, vine fruits, opulent spices; steeped in sherried richness. Royal Brackla 16 Year Old (40% abv): A royal flush of flavour: vanilla, soft caramel, ripe apricots; with sherry tones. Royal Brackla 21 Year Old (40% abv): Summer berries, dark chocolate, star anise; infused with sherry sweetness.
The distillery set up is all about creating and then capturing esters – the fermentation is long, the lyne arms of the stills are angled upwards, the copper conversation a long one, the reflux plentiful. As well as having this fresh perfumed fruitiness Brackla also possesses a clean acidity, and it is this which allows it to cut though the powerful flavours given during ageing in ex-Sherry casks, the maturation style chosen by Dewar’s for its single malt release.
Whisky making has taken place on this site since 1817 when the irascible Captain William Fraser took out a licence for his Brackla distillery – mainly it would seem to put a stop to the rascally moonshiners who were making a fine living in the surroundings lands.
Fraser may have been a deeply unpopular man, but his whisky was well received. In 1835, it was the first Scotch to be granted a Royal Warrant and the rights to call itself Royal Brackla. This seal of approval from King William IV led to Brackla being known as ‘The King’s Own Whisky’.
The Fraser connection lasted until 1879 and, like so many other 19th century distilleries, it became closely associated with blending. Andrew Usher, who is recognised as having made the first commercialised blend, was agent for Royal Brackla and became a director in 1887. It passed into the hands of Mitchell & Leith of Aberdeen who sold it in 1926 to fellow Aberdonians John Bisset & Co. (a subsidiary of Booth’s the gin distiller) and, when that firm was purchased in 1943, it became part of DCL.
The industry giant increased production in 1964, but was forced to close it down between 1985 and 1991 due to an industry surplus. Four years later, it was one of the distilleries sold to Bacardi-Martini when the then newly created Diageo had to offload Dewar's and attendant distilleries.
It remained a quiet producer of malt for blending until 2014 when Dewar’s announced that a five-strong range of single malts would be launched in 2015. Among those from Royal Brackla initially rolled out are a 12, 16, and 21-year-old.
A distillery visitor’s centre is also planned.
Brackla distillery is founded by Captain William Fraser
The distillery receives a Royal Warrant and prefixes the word 'Royal' to its name
Robert Fraser & co takes over the distillery
The distillery is refurbished and registered under the Brackla Distillery Co.
Royal Brackla is sold to John Mitchell & James Leict of Aberdeen
Mitchell & Leict offload the distillery to John Bisset & Co
Scottish Malt Distillers buys the distillery
The distillery is extended and the maltings are decommissioned
Two additional stills are installed
Royal Brackla falls silent for six years as demand wavers
United Distillers releases a 10-year-old Royal Brackla in the Flora & Fauna series
The distillery is given a £2 million refurbishment
The distillery is bought along with the rest of Dewars by Bacardi-Martini
A 35-year-old expression is released to mark the distillery's 200th anniversary, albeit two years late
CAPACITY (MLPA) i
CONDENSER TYPE i
Shell and tube
FERMENTATION TIME i
GRIST WEIGHT (T) i
HEAT SOURCE i
HFO burning boiler providing heat to stainless steel elements
MALT SPECIFICATION i
Plain malt, 0ppm
MALT SUPPLIER i
MASH TUN TYPE i
NEW-MAKE STRENGTH i
SPIRIT STILL CHARGE (L) i
SPIRIT STILL SHAPE i
Tall with rising lye pipe
WASH STILL CHARGE (L) i
WASH STILL SHAPE i
Tall with rising lye pipe
WASHBACK SIZE (L) i
WASHBACK TYPE i
6 wood, 2 stainless steel
WATER SOURCE i
Natural spring & field drain (process water),
Burn & field drain (cooling)
WORT CLARITY i
YEAST TYPE i
1998 - present
John Dewar & Sons
1997 - 1998
1986 - 1997
Distillers Company Limited
1943 - 1986
John Bisset & Co
1926 - 1943
John Mitchell and James Leict
1898 - 1926
Robert Fraser & Co
1852 - 1898
William Fraser & Co
1812 - 1852
JOHN BISSET & COMPANY
John Bisset & Company Ltd owned the Bisset’s Finest Old, Gold Label and Glenlogie brands of blended Scotch and also bottled single malts, including Lagavulin, as a 1909 bottling from that Islay distillery is extant. The firm was leaseholder of Royal Brackla distillery prior to its takeover by The Distillers Company Ltd subsidiary SMD, and was subsequently listed as licensee of the distillery until its sale to John Dewar & Sons Ltd in 1998.
John Bisset & Company Ltd was established in Aberdeen during 1828, and acquired the lease to Royal Brackla distillery, near Nairn in 1926, having previously moved its headquarters from Aberdeen to Leith. By this time, Bissets was owned by Booths Distillers Ltd, which went on to merge with William Sanderson & Son Ltd in 1935. Booths Distilleries Ltd was acquired by The Distillers Company Ltd in 1943, taking John Bisset & Company Ltd with it.