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Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Mathilda Malt: Millburn 27 year old 1976 Gordon & MacPhail Reserve

After I spent two weeks in Japan, three weeks of semi-normalcy passed before the girls' mother left for an Asian business trip for two weeks. Yes, two weeks of pure, unfiltered single father life. My daughters survived and I occasionally succeeded at parenting. Laundry and dishes were washed nonstop, down in the creek. LOLz. Friday the 12th was my first night back on my own, so I planned to celebrate. And I did celebrate......by sleeping for 10.5 hours. Then napped throughout the weekend.

Work arrived on Monday, but so did Mathilda's NINTH birthday. She happily devoured sushi like a champ for her birthday dinner. Yes, she's a 9 year old who enjoys sushi. I didn't like the stuff until I was 22, and still required sake to power it down at the time, so she's really two decades ahead of me.

And now it's Tuesday, and I should probably start posting this week's whisky things, specifically this year's Mathilda Malts, a trio of long gone single malts, including one mandatory Littlemill!

First up, a Millburn, one of the trio Inverness distilleries murdered by DCL in the '80s. Though today's sample was from a recent bottle split, I allegedly tried this whisky eight years ago but left no notes behind. (Here's The Whiskey Jug's review of the bottle from that event.) Here's the label from that bottle:

Some of you folks may remember the G&M Reserve series from ye olden days. For those who found whisky after this range perished, just know that if G&M were to restart it today, every bottle would cost at least four figures, like the Private Collection but with cheaper packaging. Do I need to say that the Reserve bottles were barely three figures? No, I don't need to say that.

Alas, a Millburn.

Distillery: Millburn
Cradle to Grave: 1807-1985
Executioner: Distillers Company Limited
Region: Highlands (Inverness)
Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Series: Reserve

Age: 27 years (1976-2003)
Maturation: maybe a refill sherry butt?
Cask #: 1598
Outturn: 615 bottles
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
(from a bottle split)


Apple cider and pilsner arrive first in the nose, with honey right behind, followed by almond extract and late harvest Sauvignon Blanc. Hints of yeast, metal, and clove cigarettes drift across the background throughout. The palate comes in a bit hot, but time fixes that. Otherwise it's a harvest whisky, with apples, pears, nectarines, and cinnamon. Milder notes of coal, metal, and dunnage give it a slight devilish spark. A late hint of tart mango adds color. It finishes with pears. cinnamon, and a nice tartness. A little bit of coal and dunnage appear later.


A spring whisky? An autumn whisky? An anytime whisky! Blessed by a polite, but not absentee, vessel for its twenty-seven years, this Millburn delivered the old school fruity goods in much better fashion than I'd expected.

I'm grateful that G&M didn't over-hydrate it with a 40%abv Connoisseurs Choice edition. Its bottling strength was pretty good, though I kinda wonder what this was like at 50%abv. Was there more fruit, more angles, more power? That doesn't really matter anymore. At least this existed. I thank all the people who helped bring this whisky to my face twice.

Availability - Sold out looooooooooong ago
Pricing - ???
Rating - 89

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