Braeval 30, 1989, Bourbon Hogshead, 50.4% – SMWS (113.34, Magically Mediterranean)

Image from SMWS

It’s been quite a while since an SMWS bottling crossed my path. I’ve not been a member since 2015 and even though they’re marketing nicely and I always get a bit giddy when I see the rather cool bottles, I just can’t bring myself to pay for the right/chance to buy bottles.

What also doesnt help is that they’re generally not that affordable anymore. A decade ago prices of SMWS bottlings were pretty low compared to similar releases by other bottlers, but I don’t think that’s still the case. Of course, this is rather subjective, but still.

Then TD (a whisky buddy) gave me a sample of this on a recent ‘let’s meet up and exchange massive amounts of tiny vials of whisky’ morning. Interesting stuff because A: it’s old, and B: it’s from a rather obscure distillery. I’m game!

Very light with hints of apple, dried maracuja and some vanilla. There’s some oak, salinity and hay.

A gentle arrival with some woody bite after a few seconds. There’s vanilla, apple sauce, pear, salinity and hay again.

The finish is a bit warmer than the palate, and slightly less sweet. Still, mostly apple, pear and hay.

Braeval is one of those distilleries which product gets used in blends for the most part. In this case, it’s pretty clear why. There’s not a lot going on, but what is there is fairly simple but tasty. I can imagine adding some complexity with other whiskies can really add to a dram like this.

Having said that, this is nice and interesting. But in the end it’s a bit too simple and straight forward.


Available at the SMWS for € 260 (see what I mean by not being too affordable?)


About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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