Whisky Reviews

Speyburn Bradan Orach


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Golden Salmon – upon first letting your nose draw close to it, you may detect hints of orange marmalade and honey; the first taste, meanwhile, may be better described as oaky with hints of stem. Though unlikely to be found in the sea, I am, of course, not talking about a rare breed of sweet water fish. No, what I’m trying to describe are a few of the characteristics of a Scottish whisky, namely Speyburn Bradan Orach single malt, with Bradan Orach meaning Golden Salmon.

While the Speyburn distillery has been around since 1897, making it only 6 years younger than of one of the better known Speyside distilleries –the Balvenie, it is unknown outside the realm of regular whiskey drinkers, at least in the UK (it has been said to be one of the top selling single malts in the US). In fairness, it has tough regional competition; Speyside hosts more distilleries than any other region of Scotland, 46 in total, including not only the Balvenie but also Glenfiddich and Macallan.

Though I live in Scotland, and have done for some time, I have only on one occasion had the pleasure of tasting Speyburn Bradan Orach – in fact, it was one of the first whiskys I can remember trying, so I guess you should give it as least part of the credit for my later interest in usquebaugh or water of life. So I am talking out of experience when I recommend this as a good first whisky, for those intrigued by the finer things Scotland has to offer, and at under $35 it shouldn’t burn too deep a hole in your pocket either.

Eye: bright, crisp, light golden

Nose: warm fruitiness with hints of orange marmalade, honey, ammoniac and stem.

Taste: much the same as the nose, but with an added hint of herbs.

Serve according to preference; with or without ice – though it is worth to note that water shouldn’t be needed, as may be with more potent and smoky whiskys. Bradan Orach is also a perfect candidate for a highland coffee (although its technically not from the highlands); simply pour a measure of Bradan Orach into a latte glass, add a bit of espresso and a teaspoon of brown sugar, top it with hot milk and finish with a layer of hand-whipped cream.

Want to buy this whisky? Available in: UK & World (click)

About Whisky Critic

My name is Martin and I live in Scotland. I love fine things in life, such as gourmet food, travelling around the world and, last but not least, whisky (naturally, I’m partial to a tipple of whiskey or bourbon as well). I have tasted hundreds of whiskies during the recent years and I finally decided to share my experience.

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  1. Jake

    January 21, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Congrats on starting the blog! Keep it up.

  2. Ron McKenzie

    July 17, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for the review I must say I agree with your description of this excellent scotch. I usually enjoy the more smokey Island malts such as Lagavulan and Laphroig but this is a gem. I bought it in Clitheroe in a specialist Whiskey at a very attractive introductory price of £14.99. The first nose is marmaladey and the first taste is honey but with an overall deliciousness. Well recommended.
    Best wishes
    Ronald McK

  3. Roark

    October 30, 2011 at 2:51 am

    You must be out of your senses. Ive never had worse scotch in my life; mind you I don’t drink a lot of bad scotch. But I bought this on your description of the incredible tasting notes. Blaahhhh. I’d rather drink dirty sock water.

  4. Oubliet

    February 18, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I found a bottle of this at the local Trader Joe’s. At first,I was skeptical that a scotch worth drinking could be found at the very reasonable price of under $20. I picked up a bottle to try out with friends this weekend.

    While it is lighter than the other scotches in my cupboard, I liked it enough to go and pick up another couple.

    A friend of mine who tried it with me enjoyed it a lot, too.

  5. Craig b.

    January 4, 2013 at 2:02 am

    If you are trying to compare this to a Macallan or higher tier scotch, stop right away. While this is not a huger tier scotch it is not swill either. At $19 for a 750ml bottle, it’s a value scotch that is worth the price. It makes a decent mixer if you like that kind of thing. I prefer it neat, slightly chilled to just below room temp.

    It has a permanent place on my shelf, but it’s not even in my top 10.

  6. Patrick Collen

    January 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I bought my first bottle of Speyburn 10 yr. Highland SM right before Christmas 2012, and I bought it because I wanted the flask included in the gift-pack and priced right at $26. I must say I liked it from the first sip, neat with no water. It is what it is: a pretty good, value-priced SM scotch. I’ll have to give the BO (…now THAT just doesn’t sound right) a try.

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