Review: Great New Archives Bottlings (Bunnahabhain 1990, Glen Keith 1992, Glen Spey 1988 and three Littlemill from 1988, 1989 and 1990)

Hooorrraaayy – our friends from the Netherlands have just released their new bottlings. These new Samoan fishes and crabs left me impressed like Robben, I have to admit. Let me share my quick tasting notes with you. And go get the stuff as long as the getting is good … there is not a weak one in the bunch.

 

Glen Spey Glen Spey 1988 Archives25 y.o. Archives 1988 – 2014, Bourbon Hogshead 356079, 163 btl., 47,3%

Comment: On the nose the motto is ‚white oak meets fruit basket‘ filled with apple, pineapple and peaches (also like Haribo sweets). Turkish delight, hazelbush branches and creamy vanilla (like a pudding) join in. It is very mild and balanced on the palate, the oak is less loud than expected. Berries and peaches display maturity and lead the way towards a medium length finish.

Score: 89

 

Glen Keith glen keith1992 archives21 y.o. Archives 1992 – 2014, Bourbon Barrel 120599, 218 btl., 51,5%

Comment: This one holds back at first, but after a little time it unfolds. It seems a bit reduced at first, but the quality of this creme brulee dram is high – as always with Glen Keith. No other distillate translates Bourbon cask aromas so well into the Scottish realm these days. Over all, a typical but shy Glen Keith (compare to our other reviews) with a long finish.

Score: 89

 

BunnahabhaiBunnahabhain 1990 Archivesn 23 y.o. Archives 1990 – 2014, Sherry butt 52, 201 btl., 47,9%

Comment: My favourite dram of the bunch and a real stunner. Archives had great releases of Bunnahabhain so far but this one beats them easily – not another raisiny over-sherried Bunna from treated casks, this one stands out! In general, Bunnahabhain still is an underrated distillery with many great affordable bottlings around – and this release is the perfect example: It reminds me a bit of old Macallan with mahogany wood, maraschino cherry, orange zest, Christmas cake with rum and port, traces of leather, ginger bread and spices. It is sweet but not dull, juicy, complex (more in the nose than on the palate) and well-balanced. The finish is endless and makes you pour another one. One of my highlights this year in terms of new releases and a bang for your buck!

Score: 92

 

Three Archives Littlemill in comparison: 1988 (51,9%) – 1989 (53,0%) – 1990 (47,8%)

As these are as wonderful as so many others we reviewed here (thyme, fruits, dried hay, malty sweetness), I limit myself to key words:

1988:littlemill 1988 archives Loads of berries, flawless balance, maturity, understatement – holy crab! – 91 points

1989: More oak than usual, a typical example, complex – 90 points

1990: Spicy elements like a rye whisky with a wonderful finish, but a bit atypical – 89 points

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