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Jura Distillery

The Isle of Jura is a barren, sparsely populated Inner Hebridean island off the west coast of Scotland. A single distillery, Isle of Jura, operates in the town of Craighouse. This is where most of the population (numbering around 200) reside.

It is a close northern neighbour of the more prolific whisky-producing island of Islay. However the delicate honeyed nature of Isle of Jura Single Malt Scotch whisky differs greatly from the heavily peated malts of its neighbor.

Jura is a thin island 30 miles (50 kilometers) in length. It lies between Islay and the Scottish mainland, just north of the Kintyre Peninsula. (The latter is home to the historic Campbeltown region.) Only a few miles off the mainland (and just 60 miles/95km as the crow flies from Glasgow), Jura was famously described as ‘unget-at-able’ by the writer George Orwell. A seasonal ferry is one of the very few ways that people can access the island. Otherwise all transport is via Islay.

The reason for Jura’s poor accessibility and low population is to do with its barren, unfertile landscape. Though the whisky is not very peaty, much of the island is covered in peat bogs. These are not suitable for any kind of agriculture.

However, Jura has a remarkably mild climate due to its position in the North Atlantic Gulf Stream. This brings warmer waters from the southern Atlantic to the area. Jura is also sheltered somewhat from the worst winds by the presence of Islay in the south. The breezes here bring a more gentle sea-salt character to the finished whisky.

A previous distillery in Craighouse closed in 1910. The Jura people had to get their whisky from Islay for half a century. In 1962 Orwell’s former landlord Robin Fletcher and Tony Riley-Smith, a fellow landowner, founded a new plant. Their main client – Scottish and Newcastle Breweries – wanted lighter whiskies for blending. Thus the style of Isle of Jura whisky was set. The distillery is now owned by Whyte and Mackay.

  • Owner

    Whyte and Mackay Group
    Parent Company:
    Emperador Distillers Inc

  • Status

    Operational

  • Country

    Scotland

  • Region

    Islands

  • Production type:

    Single Malt

  • Founded

    1810

  • Production yearly

    2.200.000 Liters

History

Although the large southern Hebridean island of Jura has always been sparsely populated, it has a fascinating distilling heritage. In the 18th century, it was reported that islanders made spirit from rowan berries, as well as using the bitter fruit to acidulate their whisky punch.

Illicit distillation took place, but there was a legal site in the island’s only settlement, Craighouse, in 1810 licensed to the island’s owner Archibald Campbell. There is debate as to whether there was a legal distillery in Lagg.

The distillery went through a number of names: Craighouse, Small Isles, Caol nan Eilean, Jura, and various owners without garnering any great fame until 1901 when it was among many to close in whisky’s first great sales slump. The cost in running a remote island site is always expensive, and a lack of direct transport to the mainland (all ferry traffic still has to go via Islay) also counted against its survival.

It was these economics which ruled Jura out of the distilling equation for over six decades. Then, in 1963, two of the island’s landowners, Robin Fletcher and Tony Riley-Smith, decided to start whisky-making once more – predominantly as an incentive to stop any further decline in the island’s population. With financial backing from Leith-based blender Charles Mackinlay & Co, the famous designer William Delme-Evans was hired and a large, modern distillery was built which was further expanded in 1978 to its current size. In 1985, Invergordon Distillers bought Mackinlay and from there the firms were folded into Whyte & Mackay.

It began being sold as single malt in 1974, and the range has grown steadily since. The start of peating saw some smoky whisky being included in the no-age Superstition brand, launched in 2002, while a 100% smoked Prophecy was released in 2009.

In 2018, Jura underwent a radical revamp, introducing a completely new range of whiskies with a lightly smoky character, from the entry-level NAS expression Jura Journey through 10-, 12- and 18-year-old malts, plus Jura Seven Wood. Further expressions, including Jura Time and Jura Tide, have been launched into travel retail.

“I love walking to our water source at the Market Loch, from the Loch you can’t see any houses or buildings just wildlife and mountains. Then you realise how vast and empty Jura is and the magic that creates.”
Graham Logan
Distillery Manager at Jura

Distillery Facts

Taste profile

Core range 

At this point Jura’s core range is: 

  • Winter Edition
  • Journey
  • 10 year old 
  • 12 year old 
  • Seven Wood 
  • 18 year old 
  • 21 year old – Tide

Archive bottles: 

  • Superstition
  • Diurachs exclusive 1995
  • Prophecy 
  • Legacy 
  • Destiny
  • 10 year old Cask Strength
  • 28 year old 
  • 30 year old 
  • 36 year old 
  • 40 year old 
  • Two-One-Two 

Limited Edition:

  • One and all 
  • One for the road 
  • One for you 

Elements: 

  • Water
  • Fire
  • Earth
  • Air

Paps Beinn:

  • Jura Paps Beinn, Mountain of Sound 
  • Jura Paps Beinn, Mountain of gold 
  • Jura Paps Beinn, The scared mountain

Tastival:

  • 2014 release
  • 2015 release
  • 2016 release
  • 2017 release

Vintage: 

  • 1972 Special Limited Edition
  • 1973 Single Cask 
  • 1973 Limited Vintage Release
  • 1974 Rare and Prestige
  • 1975 Very Rare Vintage
  • 1977 Ju-Ar the yew three
  • 1988 Rare Vintage
  • 1989 Rare Vintage
  • 1989 Special Limited Edition
  • 1990 Rare Vintage
  • 1990 Special Limousine Edition
  • 1990 Oloroso Sherry Edition
  • 1993 Rare Vintage
  • 1995 Limited Edition
  • 1999 Peated
  • 1999 Heavy Peated Edition

Special Wood Series:

  • Red wine Cask Edition 
  • French Oak
  • Rum Cask Finish 

Travel Exclusive:

  • The Bay
  • The Loch
  • The Paps
  • The Road
  • The Sound
  • 21 year old Time
  • Turas- Mara

Distillery Tours

 

DAILY DISTILLERY TOUR

Explore the Isle of Jura’s only whisky distillery and see how our whisky is made by the people in our small island community. A tour of our distillery, including our history and production process, followed by a tasting of two drams (chosen by your tour guide).

DURATION:

About 45 minutes

DRAMS

2 drams

COST

£7 per person
 

THE TASTING TOUR

A tour of our stillhouse and filling store, followed by an in-depth tasting of four whiskies from our signature and limited ranges. Ideal if you want to focus more on tasting whisky.

DURATION:

About 60 minutes

DRAMS

4 drams

COST

£20 per person
 

WOOD, CASKS AND WHISKY

Something a bit different for the seasoned distillery-goer. A tour focused on the woods used in our casks and their contribution to the flavours of our older whiskies. Finished with a tasting of four drams from different cask types (chosen by your tour guide), tried alongside the spirit or fortified wine previously used in the cask.

DURATION:

About 1 hours and 30 minutes

DRAMS

4 drams

COST

£30 per person
 

A WEE LOOK

A quick tour of the distillery, finished with a dram of Jura 10 Year Old or our signature Jura Sunset cocktail. Perfect if you’re short on time or arriving on Jura later in the day.

DURATION:

About 30 minutes

DRAMS

1 drams

COST

£5 per person

OPENING HOURS 

 

26th March – 27th October

OPENING TIMES

DayTimes
Monday10:0016:30
Tuesday10:0016:30
Wednesday10:0016:30
Thursday10:0016:30
Friday10:0016:30
Saturday10:0016:30
SundayClosed 

 

29th October – 23rd March

OPENING TIMES

DayTimes
Monday10:0016:00
Tuesday10:0016:00
Wednesday10:0016:00
Thursday10:0016:00
Friday10:0016:00
SaturdayClosed 
SundayClosed 

 

CONTACT DETAILS

Jura Distillery
Craighouse
Isle of Jura
Argyll
PA60 7XT
United Kingdom
Jura social media links

Livingbythedram social media links 

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