Royal Brackla writes love letter to sherry with new range of ‘King’s own whisky’

By Charlotte Turner |

Royal-Brackla-relaunch-2019-leadAt a Bacardi Global Travel Retail press briefing held during the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes last month, the division’s Managing Director, Vinay Golikeri was happy to report that the company’s single malt portfolio has been growing at a 5-year CAGR of about 50%.


During the briefing, travel retail and drinks journalists were reacquainted with Royal Brackla, which is being relaunched in travel retail with three new sherry-cask finishes for ‘the King’s own whisky’, in what Bacardi calls a ‘love letter’ to the Spanish fortified wine.


Interestingly, of the group’s five single malt brands – Aberfeldy, Craigellachie, Glen Deveron, Aultmore and Royal Brackla – Golikeri describes Aberfeldy as the ‘real jewel’ as it is now ranked inside the top 10 malts for travel retail and the fastest-growing single malt in TR.


However, as divulged during the unique briefing and tasting event, it is now time for Royal Brackla, to really take centre-stage.


“This is really is about the next step in a journey for our single malts,” said Golikeri.



During the briefing travel retail and drinks journalists were reacquainted with Royal Brackla.


“We’re on the start of a journey with our single malts,” added Ian Taylor, industry veteran and Bacardi’s Global Brand Director for malts.


“We’ve begun, we’ve made some good steps, but there’s still a long way to go as we try to become credible players with consumers and within the industry. We’ve done a lot of work on Aberfeldy and Craigellachie; we’re now on to our third malt.


“We’re working our way progressively through the portfolio and we’ve now had a really good chance to take a deep dive into Royal Brackla.


“It is an absolutely cracking time to work on malts at Bacardi…We’ve got incredible support company-wide, from the family and from the board.”


The new range consists of Royal Brackla 12YO finished in Oloroso Sherry casks ($79.99 for 1litre); Royal Brackla 18Y0 finished in Palo Cortado Sherry casks ($154.99, 70cl) and Royal Brackla 21YO finished in Oloroso, Palo Cortado and Pedro Ximinez Sherry casks ($279.99, 70cl).



“This range pays homage to Royal Brackla Distillery founder Captain William Fraser, traditional production techniques and its distillery character, in a move to create its finest whisky yet,” says Bacardi.


Royal Brackla was founded in 1812 and granted a Royal Warrant by King William IV in 1833, hence its unofficial title, ‘The King’s Own Whisky’.


“After several years of trialling and exploring different sherries to give an extra layer of luxury to this fragrant and fruity whisky, Malt Master Stephanie MacLeod, has chosen three types for finishing Royal Brackla,” adds Bacardi.


Taylor is looking at the value ladder

Ian Taylor, Bacardi’s Global Brand Director of malts.

“Every expression in the new range is finished in the finest first fill sherry casks, sourced directly from Spain to ensure exceptional quality.”


During last month’s tasting, Taylor made it clear in his impassioned speech about the new 12, 18 and 21 year old Royal Brackla expressions – to make their global debut with China Duty Free Group and its subsidiary Sunrise Duty Free in May next year at the airports of Beijing and Shanghai – that the company believes very firmly on retaining age statements.


Citing the phrase ‘minimal touch’, he also said that for Royal Brackla’s new variants it was all about returning to traditional methods of whisky production.



He referred to consumer research that the Bacardi GTR team had compiled, which led it to the conclusion that consumers are now demanding non-chill filtered liquid (meaning a higher ABV of 46%), which also carries its natural colour.


“Staying true to tradition, the new range has no caramel colouring added and is non-chill-filtered,” reiterates Bacardi.



The new range consists of Royal Brackla 12YO finished in Oloroso Sherry casks ($79.99 for 1litre); Royal Brackla 18Y0 finished in Palo Cortado Sherry casks ($154.99, 70cl) and Royal Brackla 21YO finished in Oloroso, Palo Cortado and Pedro Ximinez Sherry casks ($279.99, 70cl).

“We haven’t come up with the term that really sums up this approach yet,” added Taylor during the briefing. “Craft isn’t really what we’re after, but ‘minimal touch’ comes close; put simply it’s going back to how things used to be done.”


As mentioned, the refined range features increased prominence for the age statement, with every bottle guaranteeing a specific interaction with the wood. This includes a move in emphasis from 16YO to 18YO and an accentuation on the finishing across the range.”


TRBusiness joined other members of the media at a special sherry and Royal Brackla whisky tasting in Cannes last month.

Gaurav Joshi, Regional Director Asia Pacific Bacardi Global Travel comments on the launch with China Duty Free Group: “China is such an exciting market for our single malt whiskies.  The Chinese whisky connoisseur is discerning and makes purchase decisions driven by a taste for refinement and the opportunity to make unique purchases such as with Royal Brackla.


“It is a privilege to partner with China Duty Free Group to present our most special single malt to their customers in the elegant surroundings of their stores including the new flagship location at Beijing T3.”


TRBusiness understand that older variants can be expected in the pipeline. Watch this space…


Heinemann anticipates another €1bn year at IST

Retail has boomed at Istanbul Airport (IST) and the momentum is set to continue this year, even...


MAN 'very sorry' after power spike cancels flights

Manchester Airport (MAN) Managing Director Chris Woodroofe has issued an apology to passengers...


Vantage rebrands as airports manager and investor looks to the future

Vantage Airport Group (Vantage) has announced a corporate rebrand to Vantage Group. The...

image description

In the Magazine

TRBusiness Magazine is free to access. Read the latest issue now.

E-mail this link to a friend