Well, well, it appears that all those consolidations in the spirits industry are finally starting to pay off. Since Bacardi acquired John Dewer & Sons from Diageo back in 1998, they haven’t paid much attention to limited edition and small scale bottlings from their five malt distilleries until now. Realizing that single malt now accounts for a fifth of Scotch exports and that it is one of the fastest growing spirit categories in the world, they started to pay attention. And pay attention they did by launching sixteen new single malt whiskys.

Today, we’re lucky enough to give three of those 12 year old single-malt scotches a taste drive: the Royal Brackla weighing in at 40% ABV and selling for $70.23 per 750ML bottle, the Aultmore weighing in at 46% ABV and going for $64.05 per 750ML bottle, and the Deveron at 40% ABV and coming in at $119.00 per 750ML bottle. These prices I am showing above are averages, as the price varies considerably depending upon the source and the location of that source, so I recommend, if you would like to buy one or all of these scotches, definitely shop around until you find a number that makes you happy. Mind you that none of these scotches are Johnnie Come Lately’s; Royal Brackla has been around since 1812, and both Aultmore and Deveron since 1896.


I do believe I’ll start with the Aultmore, as it is the lightest in appearance of the three. It is actually the color of a very weakly brewed tea. The first aroma in the nose is light malted barley, a touch of oak, and then hints of vanilla and honey. Altogether, it is light and sweet and slightly earthy. On the palate, the smoky oakyness comes forward, followed by the malted barley, and then the vanilla and honey, ending in a citrus note. The finish is more earthy up front and then comes the barley and then a bit of lemon, leaving behind a pleasant spicy heat that lasts a medium length of time. This is a light hearted spirit that is very easy on the palate and not overly complicated but has just enough depth to be quite interesting, and it is just right for sipping straight up.


The Royal Brackla is amber in color, and the nose is definitely more pronounced than the Aultmore. It is thick and deep, with aromas ranging from raisins to figs, followed by a touch of that ever present barley, a hint of some smoke, and oak and peat. The palate is malty and earthy, with a few citrus notes of orange and grapefruit poking their way through a light spicy taste. The finish is a pure malty delight with peat and barley playing nice with the oak and hints of smoke. This is a very nice, again, not heavily complicated, but layered, scotch that would also make a nice straight up sipper.


The Glen Deveron appears to be the darkest of the three and sports a beautiful deep amber color. The nose is spicy, but not so much that it overpowers the aromas of honeysuckle, apples, cinnamon, pears and just the barest tiny hint of barley and oak. This is a very inviting nose. On the palate, most of those flavors combine quite harmoniously yet retain a touch of their individuality that combined with a bit of barley and peat make for a very interesting sip of a scotch that’s flavorful yet not too complex. The finish is smooth with a little bit of spice and a touch of apple and cinnamon, but it doesn’t last long and requires another sip to keep the flavors flowing. This too is a delightful sipper but one that can hold up under ice and mixes, thus making it a bit more versatile. But if you’re like me, you’ll just sip this sucker straight up so you can enjoy all those fabulous flavors.

These are all very good scotches to choose from, so I recommend you get all three and determine which one is your favorite, or you can be like me and get all three, and enjoy one on Monday and another on Wednesday, and start your weekend with the third one, and wear your kilt over the weekend while you struggle to decide which one to drink on Sunday.


By George Brozowski