Millburn 20 1982 The Bottlers [1,600th Scotch Review]

Huh, 1,600 reviews really just happened, didn’t they?

There’s a question I typically get, which is… do you have anything left to review? Which from a layman’s perspective is a legitimate question, right? They see maybe 50 or 60 Scotches in their life when they accidentally walk into a specialty store.

From a whisky nerds point of view though? I’m a hobbyist. I’ve barely had any Linlithgow whiskies. Only 5 total? Let’s not point out that I haven’t had Glenugie or Ladyburn or Towiemore yet. Or Millburn for that matter.

Maybe it’s time to solve that then (let’s be honest, I’m always trying to “solve that”, and I have an estimated 22 distilleries that have either made products or are making products to go). So let’s have some Millburn. Specifically Millburn 20 1982 The Bottlers, a 20-year-old dram laid down in December, 1982. Which also happens to be the year and month I was born. I know, I look so young, it’s the font I use.

But you’re not here to tell me how young I look based on my writing, you’re here to find out what the heck Millburn is. Turns out it’s not an STI you get from banging a blue collar worker. First mistake. That’s just the clap.

No, Millburn was founded as Inverness in 1807, illegally, but fuck the royal law. It passed back and forth, had a fire in 1922, was rebuilt, became part of Distillers Company in 1935, and then closed in 1985. People hoping it was just mothballed may be sad to hear the buildings were destroyed in 1988 and replaced eventually by a Premier Inn.

Millburn was a main ingredient in a vatted malt call “Mill Burn”, which seems in line with Scottish/British style marketing.

So it’s a dead distillery best known for being in a blended malt. Nothing too crazy it would seem. But how does it taste? Let’s find out, shall we?

Price: €125 (almost 20 years ago)

Region: Highland

Cask Type: Refill Sherry Hogshead

Vintage: December 1982

Bottled: June 2003

Cask Number: 1971

Abv: 63%

Colour: 5Y 7/8

Nose: Mango, green banana, brown sugar, cotton candy, mint

There’s strong whiskies that feel like hazmat without water. And then there’s frightening ones that have a clean nose with fruity notes, and you suddenly understand why multiple generations of kids were told not to drink things they find under the sink.

Lucky me, this wasn’t from under my sink. Also lucky I only have an ounce because this would introduce me to the floor with much more.

Tropical fruit, lots of sugar, and spice, along with some starch notes (think eating a banana a bit too early). It’s unique, though some more “sweet averse” people will have issues with it.

Taste: Runts candy, candy apple, dry/cereal, fennel, nerds rope

Sweet, fruity, yet better balance. The taste is a tad light, in that “high alcohol evaporation” feel to it. I like the addition of the cereal, and the spice. Also this is candy heavy. Who made this, Willy Wonka? And how did he figure out some of my favourite flavours and put them in one whisky?

Oh I know… Those Oompa Loompas have been stalking me again, haven’t they? Gotta start looking down for spies. I knew that the green hair I found in my sink wasn’t just a poor Gen Z living out of there, I knew it!

Finish: Clementine, arugula, tannins, oak, lime gelatin

Fun story: I don’t like oranges. But I do like the taste of clementine. Does it make sense? I don’t know, but that’s life, and I’m fine with it here. Mixed with the peppery heat, some tannin to balance it, more oak, and an odd sprite-y note of fake lime, this ends quite oddly. Less sweet. Which is nice. Also very dry too.

Conclusion: An odd, sweet, dry, fruity, and did I mention very sweet dram. It’s like it was made for me in mind, so my bias is showing hardcore here. I couldn’t get enough of it because it’s sweet in a candy way. I can see why this would be tempered in a vatted malt, because grain is just going to seem off mixed with it.

It almost acts like a much older single grain, in that odd sweet and weird way. But costs more to make however ages quicker? I don’t really want to do the management accounting on it, let’s build a Premier Inn.

Jokes aside, I’m really happy to have had this. It’s very odd and fun. It’s also dangerous and there’s going to be people who find this is a ton of sugar. Like there’s at least two regular whisky guys that I frankly would never pour this for them. They’d rate it 10+ lower than me, easily.

So if you’re like me in taste, try and have a dram of this.


Scotch review #1600, Highland review #268, Whisky Network review #2327

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