Jura Island Whisky Distilllery
Jura is the neighbouring island to the more famous (in whisky terms at least) Islay, home to some of the best smoky whiskies in the world. This beautiful remote island has a mountain range towering over the more flat Islay landscape. The mountains are known locally as the ‘Paps of Jura’. Built as long ago as 1810, the Isle of Jura was producing whisky (as far as we know) until it was dismantled in 1901. Archibald Campbell, was said to have founded the original illicit distillery there on the site of a smuggles cave and although there was no evidence of a license until 1831. The distillery changed hands several times before ending up under the ownership of James Fergusson & Sons in 1876. The promised a level of investment and were dully awarded a 35 year lease taking it up to the end of century. As above it ceased production at the end of that lease.
Jura closed during World War 1 and didn’t re-open until 1958 after a long running disagreement between the landlord and the owner of the distilling equipment inside. This farcical situation was ended by Scottish and Newcastle Breweries in 1958 when bought the site to use Jura as the key ingredient in their Mackinley blend. The distillery was rebuilt in the years following designed by the architect William Delme-Evans who remained a board member until the mid-seventies. They made further investment in 1978 when the doubled the stills from 2 to 4 and designed them with unusually long necks in order to create a lighter spirit preferred by the American market at the time. Scottish & Newcastle sold the distillery to Invergordon Distillers in 1985 which was subsequently acquired by Whyte & Mackay.
Whyte & Mackay ran the Isle of Jura distillery until 2009 when the Indian tycoon Vijay Mallya under the trading name United Brands Group bought Whyte & Mackay.
Taste: Unlike its Islay neighbours Jura is only lightly peated however has the fresh saltiness of an Island whisky. An easy drinking medium-bodied malt, great for beginners and experts alike.