A quite interesting experience: Obviously they reduced the peat levels further during the eighties (at least in some batches). Brora with low peat levels becomes an average Highland malt profile very similar to Clynelish (what is not bad at all) - that is comprehensible because the modern Clynelish distillery was build as a larger copy of the old one (that we call Brora now, but it was named Clynelish too). To be honest: I like Brora releases with higher peating levels (distillations up to 1977) much more...
The 1981 is pale gold while the 1982 is one shade paler at pale straw. The texture of the 1981 shows fat tears with slow legs while the 1982 shows small tears that consolidate to a ring that slowly moves downward as a ring. The nose of the 1981 is rather shy on ripe fruits (bananas, peaches, apricots) and honeys with some peaty aromas comparable to most 20+-years old Clynelish drams. Contrary to that the 1982 offers almost no peaty aromas but it is very citrusy (lemons) with green apple skins and bold malt aromas at the first sniff that vanish over time to make room for vanilla notes. Even after some minutes of breathing there are no peaty notes to detect in the 1982's nose. I clearly prefer the 1981.
The 1981 offers a delicate and subtle profile of different fruits, honeys and hints of peat. It is nicely balanced but not very impressive. The taste of the 1982 is dominated by malt flavours and some spicy wooden notes. I would call this two-dimensional without other major impressions (but without any flaw, too). Again I prefer the 1981. Water does not change a lot with the 1982 (except diluting it) and it stays malt-driven and two-dimensional, so no significant new aromas or flavours are released. The somewhat reduced 1981 gets more approachable and quaffable but still I like the neat dram better.
The 1981 arrives warming and somewhat coating on the palate with a minor peppery feeling. The 1982 arrives a little hot (due to the higher abv) and more peppery in the mouth with a slightly better coating effect. The finish of the 1981 is of medium length and adds more spicy flavours to the profile. No distracting bitter or astringent-drying moments whatsoever. The 1982 owns a somewhat longer finish that gets quite peppery and a little bitter-drying at the very end.