An extremely entertaining and big Braeval. I'd put money on my assumption that it was matured in an Ex-Islay cask, because the smokiness is very apparent and I don't think it's part of the original profile of the distillate.
The interesting part is, that sometimes this seems very nice and like a perfect combination - and sometimes I sense a conflict between the flowery and honeyed distillery character and the smoke leading to overpowering and a bit off-putting soapy notes.
Therefore a conservative score would probably not be higher than 80 or 81. But at times I did enjoy this malt immensely for it's uniqueness and smoky sweetness. So my personal score will be a bit higher.
Deep, intense, and unlike any other malt I've encountered so far. Heather, flowery and honeyed, canola oil, lime juice with chalk and smoke in the background. The downside is that the whisky smells a bit soapy, like dish detergent - but only at times, depending on temperature and individual constitution. This Braeval might be far from perfect, but with its smokiness it's highly entertaining on the nose.
With water: sweeter and fruitier, wild honey, dandelions and citrus. Nice!
Without water: One of the smokiest Speysiders I've come across, they probably used an Ex-Islay hogshead for this. Behind the veil of smoke it's intensely honeyed with tangerines, lime juice, vanilla oil and yoghurt. The soapiness is still there. And if you try the malt on the "wrong" day, it might be disturbing.
Without water: Silkier mouthfeel, but still very full-flavored and oily. Smoke, soot and charcoal in the far background. Good development. Still soapy though.
Medium to long, honey, soft oriental spices and smoke.