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Millburn is one of a trilogy of now sadly defunct distilleries located in Inverness, the others being Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor. Never paid much attention, like so many of the smaller name distilleries that closed in the eighties, it is nevertheless an often-prized malt amongst drinkers and collectors alike. Millburn remains a distillate that offers a distinctly, and sadly extinct, 'highland' profile.
Stills: 1 Wash 1 Spirit
Water Source: Loch Duntelchaig
1966-1985: The Last Gasp
After the usual patchy history of most highland distilleries, Millburn was 'modernised' to an extent in the 1960s with the floor maltings being replaced by a saladin box in 1964 and the stills being converted to steam heating in 1966. There are few known bottlings of Millburn from before this time and most bottlings of this spirit are usually aged expressions.
Millburn, like its neighbours, is a typically difficult, unsexy and occasionally strange distillate, one that needs time and patience. Its hallmarks are an old style highland waxy profile otherwise dominated by honey, coastal and gentle fruity characteristics when at its best. At other times it can be porridgy, austere, mineral, grassy and milky.
The best bottlings are generally the aged ones from the seventies and late sixties. The official Rare Malts 35yo is a stunning example of the make as well as a 31yo 1974 by Cadenheads. Millburn only closed in 1985 so it figures that there should be quite a few casks of it left but this remains to be seen as there are relatively few bottlings of it by comparison to many other closed distilleries. What is certain is that Millburn is a malt of great and eccentric character that is a heavy loss to an industry fast succumbing to increasing mediocrity. So try some while you still can.