Bringing this bottle of Miltonduff safely home into the sanctuary of a nearby dark cupboard was an odd experience, despite hundreds of vessels making a similar journey. Here was an evocative example of whiskyporn almost in physical form, rather than hashtag this or hashtag that on Instagram.
Bottle safely wrapped in plastic, it was seemingly just another whisky arriving at my humble abode to the casual onlooker. Yes, he’s bought another I’m sure they must say behind their twitching curtains. This is the only time I converse with my neighbours in reality, when I have a parcel to collect. Instead the plastic wrapping served another purpose as let’s face it – after seeing the photograph above – you’re already hooked on what the heck this is!
Memories stepped forth of a bygone era, when teenagers brought home magazines of ill repute for their personal satisfaction, rolled up or tucked underneath their jackets. Nowadays everything is so instantaneous and immediately gratifying. In some respects, this culture of deliverance has made its way into whisky thanks to the proclamation of wood. This has been propelled by shareholders and corporations’ intent on keeping costs down whilst charging more for an increasingly younger whisky. The flavours in today’s whiskies come fast and at a cost. At times we’re almost segregated into a limited portfolio of flavours along the lines of some Irish and American whiskies. With the ‘duff safely tucked away and hidden from onlookers.
It was time finally to talk about labels and then delve into the whisky itself.
The label is an important piece of any bottle. There’s a simplistic beauty to an example such as the Bruichladdich Cairdeas Syndicate that offered all the details. Yes, it looks as if it was run off an old dot matrix printer that happily chugged another line of text but everything you need to know is right there. Nowadays we have to endure superficial tales, glossy labels and packaging that frankly tells you very little about the whisky and its journey. Generally, I’m a sucker for the original labels adopted by many of the European bottlers who use existing artwork or their imagination. The label after all is a blank canvas rather than a billboard. The majority of today’s labels just reinforce a logo or brand and little else.
Once in a while a label comes along that just stops you dead in your tracks. The casQueteers Tormore was a showstopper for its awfulness, whereas this 22 year old Miltonduff has you reeling. The audacity of the design and its bravery, which must contain a story even if it’s a 1970’s slightly soiled enterprise. Entitled the Last Bunny, its part of an ongoing series called A Dream of Scotland and it’s from German independent bottler Bruhler Whiskyhaus who upon further research seem to have Scotland at the forefront of their minds. Recently, they’ve been dreaming a lot of Scotland and have released various bottles around this theme, but this Miltonduff is the showstopper.
The distillery itself is one of these producers hidden away in the Chivas Brothers portfolio. Producing for its range of blends with the occasional cask release amongst the Distillery Reserve Collection and a helping hand from the independent sector. Except its been around for longer than you think – 1824 officially – and has shipped some excellent whiskies including the 1966 Pluscarden Valley 22 year old. My experience has shown its far from a bad whisky, just one that doesn’t tend to attract much attention or fanfare. So, when Noortje who writes for Malt and her own WhiskyLifeStyle domain, dropped me a photograph of this oddity, I was very intrigued to say the least. With her rock’n’roll whisky lifestyle, there are many bottles and whiskies tossed aside or out of hotel windows, but this Last Bunny had caught the attention of onlookers at a German whisky festival including the Whiskybase team. It seemed only apt that this Dream of Scotland actually came full circle and returned home.
We apologise in advance as this bottle has since sold out – to save you scouring the internet – and it may go down as an oddity, kitsch classic or just another Miltonduff. However, it’s been fun while it lasted and now it’s time for those answers. Noortje and I thought it would be fitting to do a joint review, so its a double bill of bunny trouble. Firstly though some numbers; 119 bottles came from bourbon hogshead cask number 19262017 with a final strength of 55.8% and this was around 90 Euros.
Miltonduff 1995 The Last Bunny 22 year old – review
Colour: a light hazelnut
On the nose: really flush with beeswax, apples, maple syrup and worn leather. Yet it lacks a real overriding sense of density with an orange sherbet cutting through these formidable notes. Beneath resides sweet cinnamon, vanilla toffee, nutmeg, redcurrants and putty.
In the mouth: simple and yet very pleasurable. Honey roasted figs, stewed apples and apricot jam followed by cocoa. A creamy vanilla pod, walnut oil and molasses follow in a gentle assortment rounded off by lingering spices on the finish.
On the nose: Plenty of honey and oranges. A hint of leather and tobacco. Sour green apples and lemons. A really tiny pinch of brown sugar. Some marmalade. Then the mentioned fruits turn into tropical fruits. Nectarines, green bananas, coconuts and a hint of marzipan. Whoa this is quite good! Time does a lot here and it keeps on developing.
In the mouth: Fruits, honey and nectarines. A hint of brown sugar again. Coffee, but only in the beginning. Some vanilla too. Then cacao powder and cinnamon. And a bit peppery. With water: More creamy, milk chocolate as well. And the coffee is gone. Quite zesty too. The finish is mid-long with hints of coffee, some spices and also quite fruity, with mostly oranges and lemons.
Jason: with water or simply just left to sit in the glass for wee while, the fruity undertones came through on the nose from this Miltonduff. The palate is in comparison more rigid but nevertheless delicious. This release pays tribute to Hugh Hefner who well lived life to the full and may not have been a whisky man. However, there is an evident quality and confidence within the bottle that matches up to the evocative label.
Noortje: The finish could have lasted a bit longer, but for the rest just fantastic! The nose and taste change constantly. A dram to spend some time with and this is for me the discovery of 2017 so far. Bang for your buck.