Millburn 1978 Gordon & Macphail

Millburn Distillery, Inverness’ eldest among three (with Glen Albyn and Glen Mhor), traces its origins to a farm distillery alongside a river powering mill wheels, likely predating legal recognition. Though achieving legal status between 1805 and 1807, it remained inactive. A revival in 1825, led by inexperienced owners, faltered amidst the 1823 Excise Act’s challenges, closing in the 1850s, reverting to a flour mill. Rekindled in the 1870s by David Rose, it flourished under his son George’s management until the Haigs acquired it in 1892. Passing through several hands, including Booth’s and DCL, it ceased operations in 1985 due to the whisky surplus. Attempts at revival were thwarted in 1990, with the site repurposed as ‘The Auld Distillery,’ yet the potential for a micro-distillery remains, a tribute to Inverness’ legacy. We try today a Millburn 1978 bottled by Gordon & Macphail.

Millburn 1978 cask 3166 Gordon & Macphail Review

Distilled on August 9, 1978, this Millburn underwent an 18-year maturation period in oak cask number 3166. Details of the wood type, size, and previous contents remain undisclosed. Bottled by Gordon & Macphail for their Cask Strength collection in June 1997, it boasts an impressive ABV of 65.6%. Limited availability may be found on the Swiss website, with one bottle priced slightly above €1200.

Millburn 1978 cask 3166 Gordon & Macphail




Neat: Despite its remarkably high ABV, the nose is remarkably gentle. Abundant aromas of yellow fruits emerge, including peach, apricot, and pear, complemented by hints of vanilla and subtle spices. Gradually, tropical fruits make their presence known.

With water: The introduction of water unveils a different character, with notes reminiscent of concrete, chalk, and the mustiness of old, dusty bung cloth.


Neat: The initial taste is fiery, with the high ABV making its presence felt. A pronounced alcohol bite accompanies a thick texture, offering notes of lemon, chalk, and wax, yet counterbalanced by a surprising sweetness reminiscent of gummy candy.

With water: The addition of water brings forth a sweeter profile, accentuating flavours of citrus fruits and hints of tabasco sauce. There’s a subtle suggestion of dry white wine whilst the mouthfeel becomes creamier.


The finish is remarkably prolonged, dominated by the lingering essence of lemon zest and seeds. The citrus notes persist, with a focus on lemon, accompanied by hints of orange and clementine zest.


Initially, it packs a punch upon tasting, yet undeniably delivers an exquisite whisky experience brimming with character. Truly brilliant. I’m eager to explore more of Millburn and delve deeper into the history of this lost distillery.

Rating: 8/10

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