Caskaway: Millie Milliken's  desert island drams

Caskaway: Millie Milliken's desert island drams

In each edition, we ask one of the industry’s great and good which drams they would take to our desert island

Caskaway | 17 Jun 2022 | Issue 182

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Millie Milliken has been writing about the wonderful worlds of food and drink for 10 years. Her love for the hospitality industry started when she worked at Soho’s legendary Coach & Horses pub before a short stint at The Good Food Guide. It wasn’t until she joined the team at Imbibe UK that she really got to explore her love of whisky on a daily basis. Today, she is a regular Whisky Magazine contributor and writes about spirits, cocktails, bars and bartenders for publications around the world. She also runs The Drinks Trust’s networking platform the Drinks Community, bringing people in whisky – and beyond – together. Recently, she was appointed as head of content for the newly launched OurWhisky Foundation non-profit, which supports and empowers women working in the whisky industry.

10 Years Old

You never forget your first whisky love, and, for me, that whisky is Islay’s Laphroaig. It blew my head off, sure, but it was the first whisky I tried where it really clicked for me just how special and characterful these liquids can be. I always go back to it with a certain fondness. The Laphroaig 10 Years Old is something I could identify in a blind tasting a mile off – its notes of seaweed and iodine fly out of the glass – and it’s one of the whiskies I turn to for a bit of a reset when I’ve been spending a lot of time in other realms of the category. It’s not for everyone, but it’s what I’d call a comfort whisky.

The Glenlivet
Caribbean Reserve

This whisky was only released in 2020, but it’s made a lasting impression on me – I always have a bottle in the house. As the name suggests, this whisky has spent some time in rum casks and crikey does this distillery’s single malt shine as a result. This would be a perfect desert island whisky, with notes of ripe bananas on the nose moving into caramel and tropical fruits on the palate. That banana is what keeps me coming back to this whisky (a flavour present in the distillery’s new-make spirit). I was even lucky enough to try this whisky for the first time along with master distiller Alan Winchester (albeit via Zoom).

Glen Garioch
1999 Wine Cask

I tried this absolutely stunning whisky on a trip to visit the charming Glen Garioch distillery in Aberdeenshire, one of the oldest in Scotland. I love what the team there are doing, reinstating the distillery’s original floor maltings and bringing some peat back to proceedings. This whisky, though, is a real window into the flavour Glen Garioch can get out of cask, having been matured in Chateau Lagrange casks from Bordeaux for 19 years. It smacks of deep red fruits like cherries, with brighter notes of raspberry and strawberry, along with a big hit of spice and a lovely tannic texture.

Van Winkle Special Reserve
12 Years Old

There had to be a bourbon on this list and it had to be the lesser-spotted Pappy Van Winkle from Buffalo Trace. Getting your hands on this brand is a challenge, so if I was lucky enough to succeed, I’d have to take the exceptionally smooth Special Release 12 Years Old. It may not be the oldest or most sought after of the brand’s expressions, but it’s the one that stayed with me days after I first got to try it. Why? Because, along with all its butterscotch, cinnamon and sweetness, it has a backbone of savoury umami-ness. I’d probably turn down the offer of rescue if it meant leaving any of this behind on the island.


OK, hear me out. Anyone who knows me knows my love for new-make spirit and this one from the most fun whisky distillers I’ve ever met, the team at Kyrö Distillery in Finland, is really rather special. I got to try this at the distillery in Isokyrö before they launched their whisky and it ignited my love for some of these unaged spirits. It is unflinchingly representative of its raw material, rye, and smells like freshly baked rye bread with a touch of spice that really comes through on the palate. I can happily sit and sip this like I would an aged spirit – which I did at the distillery, in a wood-fired hot tub with the people who made it.

A king-size bed with high-quality linen. If I’m going to be drinking exceptional whisky, I want something exceptional to drink it in.
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