Overall rating
Single Malt
Signatory Vintage (SV)
Bottling serie
The Un-Chillfiltered Collection
Stated Age
22 years old
Sherry Butt
Number of bottles
46.0 % Vol.
700 ml
Bottle code
Added on
13 Apr 2009 4:34 pm
UncoloredNon-chillfilteredSingle Cask Whisky

Average value

€ 911,23

3 × in wishlist

10 × member ratings

16 × in collection

Whisky Reviews for Brora 1981 SV

6 users have left a review for this whisky and scored it an average of 88.50 points

  1. hs305 scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    [July, 2018]  The reason why we can enjoy these old delicious Brora drams was a severe drought on Islay during the late sixties that resulted in a shortage of peated malt whiskies because most Islay distilleries had to cut back their production volumes due to water supply shortages.  So other distilleries had to fill the gap and the old Brora was best suited for that:  Just recently closed (due to the newly build Clynelish distillery on the same ground) it could get revitalised within weeks and produced a heavily peated malt from May 1969 until the mid-seventies (when the new Caol Ila was up and running).  After that Brora reduced its peat levels constantly down to the Clynelish level in the eighties.  That is why so many connoisseurs prefer the (early) seventies Brora over the late seventies and eighties distillations.  Nonetheless, I am curious if the peat levels during the eighties were kept the same or if they differed anyhow.  That is why I do this head-to-head of comparable 22- resp. 21-years (WB id 10367) old releases from 1981 and 1982 distillations.

    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...
    • Nose
      90 90
      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.
    • Taste
      87 87
      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.
    • Finish
      87 87
      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.

  2. lincolnimp scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    Signatory Brora H2H result in reverse order :-

    1981 22 year cask 1635 46% , simple profile but nice enough 87 points 

    1982 21 year cask 416 58.4% , need water, a little bitter at first but the peat grows, a coastal dram for sure. Like in Islay in may ways. water is needed. 88 points  

    1983 18 year cask 40 52.9% Silent Stills – This is a peaty one, water helps it. 88 points   

    1981 22 year sherry butt cask 1561 56.4%. , nice nose, good finish, a little bitterness costs it points   90 points 

    1981 23 year cask 1557 53.7% , excellent balance 91 points

  3. lincolnimp scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    A simple profile on this one and the 46% is telling when you compare it to its Signatory siblings from casks 1557 &1561, but simple pleasures as they say.

  4. lincolnimp scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    One of the better Signatory offerings.
    • Nose
      90 90
    • Taste
      90 90
    • Finish
      87 87

  5. lincolnimp scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    This is one of the better Signatory Brora at lower strength 46% and with more peat than a majority of the 1981 Signatory.

    Depending on the price this is worth getting, sure it can`t compete with the OB or some of the Douglas Laing older bottles but viewed on its own it is a good IB.
    • Nose
      Smells like a bag full of orange, ginger and nuts mixed together on first nosing. Some peat mixed with cream next with a little wafer.

      This one smells quite dry if that's even possible. Finally there is some brine mixed in with the peat and a little white fruit.
    • Taste
      Holy cow, that caught me by surprise I forgot that this was one of the peaty 1981. A good blast of creamy peat hits you first but then it subsides to reveal plum and mango (I think). The peat goes in the background and there is some creaminess mixed in with the fruit.

      The peat seams to linger with a bigger mouthful but there is also some icing and maybe a little peach
    • Finish
      Good medium length with the peaty sweetness evident to the end

  6. Furtia scored this whisky 88 points Connoisseur

    • Nose
      88 88
    • Taste
      86 86
    • Finish
      89 89


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