Brora Iris: 50-year-old whisky, uniquely presented

Petra Milde |

The single malt whisky will be auctioned by Sotheby's in October


It is the oldest Brora Single Malt Whisky ever bottled: the whisky was matured for 50 years and now a single copy has been bottled. Brora Iris is the name of this special piece, which is being auctioned off for charity.

Brora Iris is not only eye-catching, the ensemble of stone sculpture with integrated decanter created by artist Michelle De Bruin also represents an eye, more precisely the eye of a wildcat. This animal is the symbol animal of Brora and adorns, among other things, the new entrance gate to the Brora Distillery site. Founded in 1819, the distillery was closed in 1983 and reopened in 2021 after reconstruction. The Brora Iris sculpture is made of the same limestone that was used to build Brora Distillery.

Brora Iris is given as a donation from Diageo and will be auctioned in partnership with Sotheby's at Hopetowen House in Edinburgh on 5 October 2023. Bids can be submitted from 14 September. An auction price of £250,000 to £500,000 is expected. The proceeds of this one-of-one auction will go to the Distillers' Charity organisation, specifically the Youth Action Fund, which supports young people in Scotland.

Brora Iris contains 1.5 litres of Brora Single Malt Whisky. It was distilled in 1972. So far, nothing is known about the type of cask maturation and the alcohol content of the whisky, but Diageo publishes tasting notes on the Rare and Exceptional homepage:

Producer's tasting notes for Brora Iris

Appearance: Rich amber with golden lights. Delicate beading and slow-running legs.

Body: Smooth, rich and elegant.

Nose: Well-integrated, gentle and mellow at first, and drying overall. The ethereal early aromas are slow to unfold, with a light, vinous top note suggesting fortified wine backed by a fresh, salty sea breeze, hessian hints of hemp rope and canvas, and perhaps a hint of treacle toffee. All these are subtle and elusive, as is a background thread of coal smoke that suggests a vintage railway engine in steam.

Palate: It’s all beautifully balanced between sweetness, savoury and smoke and held together by light oaky spiciness, which is well-controlled even at this age and keeps the palate crisp and clean.

Finish A good length, gently warming the palate with gingery spice and a little black pepper catch, then graciously fading to leave a last thread of smoke and a deliciously candlewax-smoky aftertaste.


Image: Diageo

About the author Petra Milde

Petra Milde is a freelance author of books and specialist writing about spirits and food. She has been supporting the editorial team since 2015 and creates informative and entertaining articles in the news section.

Besides her writing work, she moderates tastings and can be met at spirits fairs, both behind the stands and in front of them, looking for new products and interesting people to talk to.