8 July 2013

Whisky Insiders Interview - Isabel Graham-Yooll

Milroy’s of Soho / Jeroboams

Whisky Buyer


How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I started in the wine trade in the late 1990s and gravitated more and more towards whisky over time. I like to think I’ve been working my way up the ABV ladder.
What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
Perhaps it was one time when Neil Morrissey came in to Milroy’s of Soho and told me he loved Milroy’s Finest Blended Malt and would be drinking it with Billy Bragg. I’m pretty sure that’s what he said.
Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?
The first dram I remember was from a bottle of Loch Dhu. That stayed in my drinks cabinet for years, along with a novelty bottle of Yugoslavian plum spirit and some Ukranian ‘Cognac’. I think it was still there when I moved house. I expect it’s still there now.
What does whisky mean to you?
Whisky means a great, great, great deal to me!
Where would you like to see yourself in five years time?
I’d love to start my own illicit distillery. Nothing big, just a Heath Robinson contraption to fill the spare bedroom.
What was your last dram?
Milroy’s of Soho Dutch Rye. I’m drinking it now.
Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
Not yet but I intend to continue researching until I’ve exhausted all the possible combinations. Having said that, peated whiskies do seem to work well with blue cheeses every time, regardless of the brand.
What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
Wingback arm chairs, tents, boats on tidal water, theatre seats, horseback, family weddings, transatlantic flights. All of these become rather more tolerable with the addition of a glass of whisky.
What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
Educated whisky consumers will be expecting more information about the types of grains used in their whiskies. Producers don’t like to tell us the type of grain because it “doesn’t make much difference” or “is a closely guarded secret”.  You watch, soon they will list the exact “unique” mash bill on the marketing with justified pride.
What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
Over time I think I could probably learn to live without any one dram.
Many thanks to Isabel Graham-Yooll. Who will be the next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!