Isle of Jura Distillery

The Isle of Jura Distillery is one with a mission. It was started with the intention of providing employment to the locals and also to produce a Highland whisky that was not as peaty as the rest – but distinctive. It seems to have achieved both with some success. Jura is a magical remote island off the west coast of Scotland, where distilling whisky is at the core of the community.

Laird Archibald Campbell built the distillery in the early 1800’s and produced a pretty good whisky but not very different from the others. The distillery was let out to various people to run over the years. It was run very successfully by James Ferguson who leased it in 1875. It was producing 65,000 gallons a year when it was rebuilt by him in 1884.

Unfortunately a difference of opinion in 1900 between the then Laird Campbell and members of the Ferguson family provoked the latter to shut the distillery down. Not only did they stop manufacture, they dismantled whatever equipment they had installed and took it away. They even broke the roof to avoid paying rates.

The distillery lay abandoned and in ruins till the 1950s. It had traditionally provided jobs to the people of the island and a job crisis naturally loomed over them. Two influential persons Robin Fletcher owner of Ardlussa Estate and Riley-Smith owner of Jura House and Ardfin Estate along with farmer, distiller and architect Delme’ Evans got together to restart he distillery. They raised finances from Scottish and Newcastle Breweries.

A simple distillery was designed and constructed on this remote island and production commenced in 1963. It was built at the same site as before and draws water from the same source as before, the Bhaille Mharghaidh spring. The owners were keen on creating a whisky unlike the one distilled here earlier. They ordered malt which was lightly peaty and created a very special Highland spirit. The distillery also employed one third of the island’s male workforce.

The mild gentle 10 year old Jura Island Malt whisky has been influenced by ten years in a sea coast warehouse. Jura Superstition is another fine whisky that has been created as a tribute to the people of the Isle of Jura. It has been subtly influenced by the traditions and the mystical heritage of this unique island.

An older and more mature whisky is the 16 year old Jura. A pride of place is reserved for the 21 year old, which was distilled in 1984. A complex and subtle flavor and bouquet combines a fragrance of fresh rich fruit cake, chocolate and orange leaving the smooth taste of soft berries, spice and cinnamon. The deep red mahogany drink produced by Isle of Jura Distillery is one to be cherished.

 





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