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Wondering What $11,000+ Will Buy In Scotch? Here’s Your Answer!

How much can an original Scotch lying dormant for decades from a distillery shuttered back in the 1980s run you? There’s a lot of debate on the topic of what truly defines collector’s Scotch, but spirits giant Diageo, owners of the long mothballed Brora distillery, is here to tell you its over $11,600 Brora 40-Year-Old release could be setting some new records for some of the most expensive of its kind.

Diageo announced recently the Brora 40-Year-Old would be available exclusively through travel retail at select UK World of Whiskies and World Duty Free Group stores in April, through you can pre-order it now if you like. This offering, limited to just 160 bottles, is Diageo’s most expensive single malt release ever, heralding from a distillery that first was founded in 1819 in the Highlands region of Scotland. It was closed in 1983, but some of its whisky remained aging in a single cask distilled back in 1972.


Owing to being such a rare, and uber-expensive, Scotch, Diageo has left little behind when it comes to the quality of the packaging and presentation. The spirit is housed in a crystal decanter that bears the golden emblem of the guardian of the closed distillery and crest of the distiller’s founder, the Duke of Sutherland. Its crystal stopper meanwhile is etched with the number ‘40’ and the decanter has an engraved copper neck detailing the 1972 distillation year. The bottle rests atop a special wooden case handcrafted by the Queen of the United Kingdom’s cabinet makers at N.E.J Stevenson.

Tasting notes from the retailer selling this special pale gold spirit bottled at 59.1% ABV are presented below. Enjoy and try not to drool too much on your keyboard!

Nose: Soft, smoky and unctuous, with a gently rising honey and fruity sharpness which is quickly offset by savoury, slightly medicinal and musky notes with hints of menthol slowly developing into the intense sweet aroma of dried fruits. With water there’s an unexpected yet pleasantly harmonious fusion of ground white pepper, toasted hazelnuts and toffee with subdued appetising smoke.

Body: Light. Denser and pleasingly oily with water.

Palate: First impressions is of concentrated wood smoke and wood ash slowly dissipating to leave the sweetness of honey with just a whiff of liquorice. Finally you are left with a dryness fused with toasted hazelnuts. With just a drop of water the whisky becomes oilier revealing the musky notes found in the nose along with the soft coastal notes of brine & pepper. Just underneath the surface there is a cereal and would be tangy note vying against the more robust smoke, salt and toffee flavours.

Finish: Initially quite short with traces of eucalyptus & spice but then lengthened by smooth tannins and savoury smoke. With water the finish is medium to long, lingering sweet wood smoke with hints of dark chocolate.

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the former founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award-winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y globally. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert, and judge, he has written extensively about the subject, been interviewed in various media outlets, and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions.

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