The Whiskystats Portrait of Brora
Some numbers and figures may not match what you find in the Whiskystats 2.0 database.
With this article we introduce a new category to our board, the Whiskystats Portraits. Here we have a closer look at single segments of the market. Starting off this new series is Brora, an already closed distillery from the northern highlands.
In some of our recent articles we have already summarized some big parts of the market like the scotch producing regions or the most wanted distilleries. It is now time to change our focus to more specific questions. As we already figured out that the Brora distillery index tripled in the last decade, it is obvious to ask which bottles account responsible for this. So this is the whiskystats portrait of Brora.
Founded in 1819, closed in 1983, the Brora distillery would have some interesting stories to tell. Once only chosen to substitute the Port Ellen whiskies in the Johnny Walker blends, the Brora single malts now belong to the most appreciated scotch whiskies of them all. In our database we find 129 Brora bottlings, some of them still regularly traded and some of them not seen in quite a while. 68 of these bottles from the Brora distillery index.
Obviously the demand on those bottlings never really declined. So the question is which specific bottles make Brora the most wanted scotch distillery and who is responsible for that bottlings. Before we pick out the most mentionable bottles, we have a look at where these bottles come from.
Who Bottled Brora
When having a look at where all these Brora whiskies come from, it seems like most of the credit belongs to two independent bottlers and of course Diageo itself. Every fifth Brora whisky in our database was bottled by Douglas Laing & Co.. The same holds for Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky. About 15% come from the distillery itself respectively the owner Diageo, since the distillery is not operating any more. Beside that, we have recorded 15 other bottlers for the 45% of the Brora bottles left.
Brora in Series
Many scotch single malt whiskies come in a collector series these days, and so do some of the bottles we are looking at. One of the most prominent examples is of course the Rare Malts Selection series. First established in 1995, this series predominantly consists of bottlings from closed distilleries like Brora. Other examples are the Old Malt Cask or the Old & Rare series by Douglas Laing & Co.. For some reason, Gordon & MacPhail managed to get their hands (“only”) on casks from the year 1972 and 1982 which they then marketed as part of their Connoisseurs Choice series.
The Most Traded Bottles
With 112 observed prices since January 2006 the Brora 20yo (Vintage 1982) Rare Malts Selection is the most traded Brora bottling according to our database. Where in the year of 2006 this whisky was sold for around 100 Euro, the last price observation of more than 600 Euros in July 2015 indicates that the “worth” of this bottle sextupled over the last nine years. All of the ten most traded Broras are original bottlings. The most traded independent bottling is the Brora 20yo (Vintage 1982) Reserve from Gordon & MacPhail. The 30 observed prices make it the 14th most traded Brora in our database. So if you intend to buy one of these bottles, you chances increase if you look for some original bottlings.
The Most Expensive Bottles
For the single most expensive Brora bottling covered by our database we only observed two trades. Therefore, this bottle is not included in the Brora distillery index. It is a Brora 22yo (Vintage 1972) Rare Malts Selection bottling. As both price observations lie beyond 6000 Euros, you may want to think twice before you crack this bottle open and share it with your guests. Another Brora 22yo (Vintage 1972) Rare Malts Selection is by October 2015 the second most expensive Brora bottle in our database. Traded on a more regular basis, this bottle would have cost you less than 1000 Euros back in 2007 and now sells for just little less than 3000 Euros. But the Rare Malts Selections are not the only bargains you can make. Two other bottles which are currently selling for more than 2000 Euros both belong to the Old & Rare series from Douglas Laing & Co.. These are the Brora 31yo (Vintage 1972) Old & Rare and the Brora 30yo (Vintage 1972) Old & Rare. Bottles like these are the reason why this distillerie’s index tripled over the last decade. Back in 2006, the 30yo sold for less than 300 Euros. If you have plans on buying this bottle now, you better cancel your skiing holiday this year since it would likely cost more than 2000 Euros.
The Brora Price Rockets
Put your seatbelts on and prepare yourself for some truly impressive price increases! The rarely traded Brora 30yo (Vintage 1972) of the Old Malt Cask Series (bottled by Douglas Laing & Co. for Alambic Classic) experienced a 500% increase in value since the first sighting in December 2005. Comparable, in both gain in value and rarity, is the Brora 30yo (Vintage 1972) also bottled by Douglas Laing & Co.. Sold in 2006 for a little more than 200 Euros, in September 2015 one of these bottles changed its owner for more than 1500 Euros. The trio of Douglas Laing & Co. treasures is completed by the Brora 30yo (Vintage 1972) Old & Rare. Since the price for this whisky went up by more than 600% over the last decade, it would now cost you more than 2000 Euros to buy one of these bottles.
The Broras We Miss
As the Brora distillery is silent since 1983 we probably need to get used to the fact that we eventually lose track of some of these bottlings. The following bottles haven’t been seen for a long time, although we cannot say if this is due to a lack of remaining unopened bottles or a lack of information. There is for example the Brora 24yo (Vintage 1981) bottled by Signatory Vintage Scotch Whisky. One of these 472 bottles from cask 05 794 showed up on our radar more than five years ago where it was sold for around 100 Euros. The most missed from the Rare Malts Selection series is the Brora 22yo (Vintage 1972) Rare Malts Selection. Prior to December 2013 we observed 13 trades of this bottling. The latest ones for around 2000 Euros.
Based on our price observations we guess that there are two points of view on single malts from the Brora distillery. If you happen to own some of these bottles you can consider yourself very lucky. You also learned that there are probably quite a lot of people who envy you and are willing to pay some hefty prices. If you, on the other side, happen to look for the one or the other Brora whisky you are now assured that you never had to pay as much money as you do nowadays.
If you are looking for further details on the Brora distillery and its history and bottlings, we recommend you the following resources
Maltmadness – Brora
Whiskyfun – Brora