• Fiona Bielby

The Art of Drinking Whisky, put together by James of McMillans of Malton.

Last weekend, bank holiday Friday in fact, my husband and I did our first Whisky tasting together, with James (of McMillans of Malton) and Craig (Paul John’s rep).


The five samples of Paul John Whisky

When you get the packaging right :)


What a top idea it was of James’ to arrange this super evening/event for people near and wide. Usually, James and his father, owners of McMillians of Malton, host their Whisky tasting evening with at Chapter Two in town; however, due to the times we’re going through they have been unable to do so. This hasn’t stopped James though; it’s just made him have to think of a more diverse way to deliver the experience of which the father-son team are extremely passionate about, so last Friday at 8pm we headed into the dinning room, seated ourselves in front of the laptop and hooked up to their live stream on Facebook- delivered via Malton Whisky Society.



All ready for the off! Glasses, samples, laptop.


James and Craig delivering the session whilst chitter-chatter happens in the comment tab.

My favourite sample of the five, a real smokey after tone.


James and Craig then together talked us through each of the five samples we’d had delivered through the door the day before, I didn’t know what to expect as I’ve never been to one of their tasting sessions before, usually I’d be at home with the kids, so it was great to be able to join in. Craig talked us through the process of how the whisky was aged and put together and also he shared the similarities and differences of how the process worked out in Indian, which is where Paul Johns whisky distillery is based, compare to the UK climatised, distilleries which was fascinating. I had no idea that the whiskies matured much quicker with a hotter climate due to the evaporation process being sped up.



Glass all rinsed and ready to go...




Craig included a few slides to help him explain the ageing process.


They talked us through the notes and tones of the whiskies’ aromas and surprisingly (to me) you could taste exactly what James and Craig discussed! The people who were also involved in the tasting were able to ask Craig and James questions about the Whiskies in the comments panel of the FB window, which added a great atmosphere to the event, people were not only asking questions about the product they were also getting involved with good banter and humour throughout the hour. I could see there were people within the group that James was clearly familiar with, along with other clear friendships within the group, formed possibly by the past sessions they had attended. It’s great when we get a local business that’s passionate not only about their product but the community too. I would highly recommend James’ sessions and I do believe there is talk of more to come, so follow McMillans of Malton and Malton Whisky Society if you’d like to join in next time.




Texting during the session between my hubby and his friend, about the session.

They were all good, they just went so quickly!!


James and his Dad's shop is based in Malton, North Yorkshire, they're recently moved to a new premises where they have more room to work and stock the Whiskies, Craft Gins, Beers, Spirits, Ciders and Wines that they are so passionate about. Both James and his Dad believe purchasing whiskies should be more of an experience rather than just walking in and walking out with a bottle; they have a very principled philosophy that everyone should be able to try before they buy, after all everyone has different preferences when it comes to this fine spirit. From this belief came the idea of tasting evenings, starting out with relaxed sessions originally at the Spotted Cow, now in Chapter two and from this MWS (Malton Whisky Society) was born, it’s formed from a group of individuals who enjoyed good company and quality whisky. James and his father’s earnest and passionate approach has lead to them cutting through the stigma and pretentiousness that sometimes are associated with Whisky as a perception.


The new premises, they moved as lock down started so unfortunately I was unable to see inside.

The window display...



I very much look forwards to meeting James in person and capturing him in the shop when we are safe to do so again. Until then we'll just have to enjoy these online sessions and opt to purchase spirits form him online, James is delivering his produce so check out the website!