Sandy's Millburn Distillery Memories
One of the great joys about researching closed and lost distilleries, is talking to and documenting the memories of those who worked on site or lived nearby. The human element of these distilleries is something that resonates personally, and is often overlooked. My research took me to the virtual door of Sandy on the Isle of Skye, who was happy to provide his own memories as well as identifying a mystery image as not being Millburn.
I've posted his own words below and memories such as these bring to life any distillery and give it a human perspective. I hope I can do his family justice through this Millburn project and reveal some details regarding Hugh and his career. For now, over to Sandy:
'My maternal grandfather namely Hugh Cameron Mackay worked in Millburn Distillery for many years. He was born at Castlehill, Inverness on 16.07.1899 It is recorded on my mothers birth certificate in 1927 that he was a Stillman at the distillery and on his death on 18.12.1958 his death certificate records he was Brewer at Millburn Distillery, I have childhood memories of my grandparents residing in a distillery house on Millburn Road in front of the distillery.
The Mill Burn ran directly behind the house. I remember my grandfather taking me on more that once occasion to a bond/store where he would sit me on a barrel and dispense a measure of whisky from a barrel to men finishing shift. I remember the distillery vividly from childhood memories. When my grandfather passed on my grandmother was obliged to leave the tied house and went on to live with her daughter at 2 Diriebught Road. She was married to a Donald Junor who also worked in the distillery along with his brother John who resided at number 4 Diriebught Road (both distillery houses).
I also recall as an early secondary pupil at Millburn Junior Secondary alerting the management of the distillery to flooding of Millburn Road and the potential bursting/overflow of the laide behind the distillery. For my quick thinking I was given the princely sum of £5 from the distillery manager. I have a photograph taken in the Bught Park of my grandfather circa 1953/54 and some small photographs of me as a child in the garden at the house in Millburn Road.
I have also vivid and not so vivid memories of sampling white spirit from the distillery back in the early 70's hic hic. This had been acquired by my uncle. My aunt is still living and I am sure she would have some very interesting stories.
As an aside I came across a bottle of Millburn 25 year old being sold in a bar/restaurant in Portree a number of years ago. The rather inexperienced barman was selling 25 ml measures at the same price as blended whiskies on the gantry. Needless to say I never said anything to the barman until I had my quota.'
If you have memories, or family stories regarding any of the Inverness distilleries, please get in touch as I'd love to hear from you. And once again, my thanks to Sandy and the Inverness History Forum.