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Jack & Wallace Milroy


Jack & Wallace Milroy

Doug McIvor: Without Jack and Wallace's pioneering work in the late 1960s and 70s in pressuring the blend owners to supply their single malts the story of whisky as we know it could have been very different. When I joined Milroy's in 1990 it was already established as a haven for whisky lovers and the big bearded bear that is Jack was displaying his aptitude in filling cases of rare whiskies for countless Japanese visitors. A copy of Wallace's famous Malt Almanac was always included in the sale and Jack sat busy autographing bottles. Wallace, meanwhile, would be nurturing a few containers of whisky to the Far East. Their flair with whisky began in their early teens in the cellars of the family pub in Dumfries where they were able to extract liquid from bottles without damaging the seals. And they could differentiate between several blends at this tender age. I had the pleasure of working with both of the brothers and we remain great friends. Wallace, always the quieter of the two but with a tremendous sense of humour. Jack was and is notorious for tempting one to join him for a so called "picnic" and a "glass of lemonade". I ended up in St Thomas's hospital as a result of one such "picnic". (This was actually down to food poisoning not the alcohol) and woke the next morning to find him snoring in a chair at the bedside. I've not touched lemonade since. I often tell people that there's only two things that give me a hang-over. Cigars and Jack Milroy

Dave Broom: It was my first real introduction to single malt. event: a Greek wine tasting at UDs Hammersmith offices. Wallace is in attendance. "I've had enough of that stuff," he says to me after about half an hour of nosing and spitting. "Let's try some of these new Classic Malts." They were very new at that time. He walks over to the display cabinet, pulls it open, much to the horror of the PR people, and proceeds to take me through an impromptu tasting consisting of large measures in big glasses, of the range. I remember little of the afternoon bar, my editor telling me: "Dave, if one goes to lunch it's understood that one doesn't return to the office, especially if that lunch has been taken with the Milroys." Wallace was unfailingly supportive to me in my early days of drinks journalism, tips, advice, contacts, comments, not to mention his tasting guides and full glasses.

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