Millburn 20 1983 Scott’s Selection

What was the occasion: This was what I went out on my birthday for, Millburn. Was it supposed to be this Millburn? No, it was supposed to be /u/the_muskox [+3] ‘s recommendation of the Millburn Rare Malt. Unfortunately I think he recommended that to others, because the bottle was gone by the time I made it out.

Oh well, can’t get precious with whisky. Otherwise people will raise the price and lower the quality and it’ll become less and less worth it and frustrating. Not to mention an insane secondary market. Luckily that’s not happening right now (this is sarcasm).

What whisky did we review? Millburn 20 1983 Scott’s Selection is an independently bottled Millburn that was laid down in 1983. It’s not an everyday distillery, and certainly one I’ve only ever encountered once. Scott’s Selection is an independent bottler who pops up every so often… Oh, and it’s cask strength, and we don’t know the cask, because of course we don’t.

What’s the distillery? Millburn distillery is a demolished distillery that went from 1807 to 1985, when the 80s ruined another thing and it was destroyed. It’s a Premier Inn now, so I’ll let you take a moment of silence

The distillery was owned by Scottish Malt Distillers at the time of closing. From what I can see the company was purchased by Guinness (and there’s some write ups that go into the issues with that purchase which I don’t know enough on to repeat) and then cost cutting led to a very old distillery being closed.

What’s my bias? Millburn itself occupies two places in my head: I have read enough reviews of it and I’m not immune to people gushing about it. On the other hand, I’ve had one. I liked it, but it’s just one. At one point I only had one Arran and I enjoyed it, and we all saw where that went (I reviewed a ton of them and don’t like them as much as that first one).

As for the independent bottler… Scott’s Selection has popped up twice in my whisky review experiences, and I was “meh”. They were alright. Just alright. Friends have recommended against them. So partially negative?

Well that didn’t stop me from going back to Florida one time, so let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

Price: €335

Region: Highland

Vintage: 1983

Bottled: 2003

Abv: 58.0%

Colour: 5Y 9/6

Nose: Dandelion, mineral, lemon jujubes, butter

Hey, all those flavours I was looking for in the Lowland I ordered at the same bar! It’s all coming up TOModera!

Citrus, mineral, sweet and buttery. Think really good Lowland. Or really nice Mosstowie with less mineral… wait, the average person doesn’t know what that means, Mosstowie lasted like 30 years.

Uh… It’s like sweet smelling flowers at a carnival where you’re having deep fried jujubes and butter. That works, right?

Wish it was a bit stronger of a nose though. Pressed more glass into my face since the time I visited the penitentiary.

Taste: Green jujubes, walnut, ginger, mint jelly, algae

More sweet notes, but a bit more sweet and less tart. Some tannic/nuttiness, some mint, and some vegetal. I feel like they expected the spice and walnut to be the main thing here, and like non-Indian vegan food, it doesn’t quite work.

It’s still hitting that “tasty Lowland” note though, so I’m good. I don’t know how others would be.

Finish: Linen, musty, lemongrass, grapefruit, cinnamon

Floral, dust, more floral, more citrus, and some cinnamon. Very unique. Again, I get those “good Lowland” vibes from it, so I’m happy as a clam, and I feel the citrus steps up at the end and avoids the issues with the taste.

Would the average person enjoy it? Probably not. Not a lot of people like floral drams. Just look at anyone who tries a Bowmore from the 80s for the first time expecting current Bowmore.

Conclusion: A unique dram. Very light nose. Certainly unique, and if it was a tad stronger, would be up my alley. It felt like they knew they were on the way out but probably still gave a shit? Yeah, that works. It was the 80s, quality was evaporating like the future of the world.

Should you try this? If you haven’t had a chance to try really, really good Lowland or mineral, citrus, and floral heavy whisky, yes. No, having a 46% Lowland OB doesn’t count. Those are usually a disappointment. But this? This has some legs, this is what I’m jonesing for when I buy a cask strength Lowland now.

Guess I’ll have to keep hunting down more Millburns to see how I feel about them then. Oh well.


Scotch review #1614, Highland review #270, Whisky Network review #2341

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