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7 July 2021

110th Whisky Insiders Interview - Gary Mills



Company:
The Loch Lomond Group

Job:
Visitor Experience Manager & Brand Ambassador

Website:



How long have you been working in the whisky industry?
I joined the Loch Lomond group in 2015, and it was my first job in the whisky industry. I will never forget my first week on the job and the time spent with Iain McAlister and the team at Glen Scotia. They welcomed me in and set me off on my journey!

What has been your biggest career highlight to date?
I’ve had a lot of highlights along the way, taking our Glen Scotia Grand Tour to London and Taipei in Taiwan was a wonderful experience, getting to share some great whiskies with people from all over the world! My time working on Littlemill has created some great experiences too, from unearthing the evidence behind Scotland’s oldest licensed distillery and the release of the brands latest expression, Littlemill Testament.
 
Can you remember your first dram, and indeed what it was?

My Dad has always been a whisky drinker and had previously tried to introduce me to Scotch, but for sure it was Glen Scotia Double Cask that really started my whisky journey proper. Such a wonderfully well balanced and easy drinking whisky, it was the perfect introduction to me with a great mix of the sweet vanilla notes and sherry influence.
 
What does whisky mean to you?
Too much to quantify. Whisky has afforded me some amazing opportunities and I will be eternally grateful for that!
 
Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Hopefully still doing something similar to what I am now, I truly believe that we are all on our own whisky journeys and I’m still relatively near the start of mine. There is plenty more for me to learn and I would to eventually have some involvement in the blending/cask selection side of things – that would be amazing!

What was your last dram?
This morning I took part in a virtual tasting with Australia at 7am (4pm their time) and the last dram of the session was Glen Scotia 25 Year Old, which was recently crowned ‘Best Whisky in the World’ at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Do you have a favourite whisky and food pairing combination?
Another wonderful thing about working across our brands means I get to interact with so many people across the business. Our Master Blender Michael Henry introduced me to the combination of our Loch Lomond 18 Year Old with barbecue foods. It’s a wonderful combination of sweet, spice and subtle smoke!
 
What’s your favourite time and place to enjoy a dram?
I think as long as you’re sharing your drams then you can’t go far wrong. But truly my favourite place is in Campbeltown during the Malts Festival. We finished our last open day in 2019 with a bonfire on Machrihanish beach and to be there with people from all over the world sharing whisky, stories and laughs was a memory that will stick with me for a long time.  
 
What do you think is going to be the next big thing on the whisky horizon?
I think you will see more people doing fun stuff at the distillation point with different grains. We’re already seeing the emergence of Scottish Rye, which is very exciting!

What’s the one dram you couldn’t live without?
That’s like asking me to pick my favourite child. I'll stick with a distillery and I can’t imagine ever not having Glen Scotia whiskies in my cupboard!

Many thanks to Gary Mills. Who will be our next Whisky Insider? Click back soon to find out!