Jura Celebrates 50th Anniversary at Whisky Festival – Scotch Whisky News

The Jura distillery is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a packed programme of live music performances, interactive whisky tastings and storytelling sessions at this year’s Jura Whisky Festival, an established part of “Fèis Ìle” (Islay Whisky Festival).

In the late 1950s, following decades of neglect, two local estate owners, Robin Fletcher and Tony Riley-Smith, rebuilt the Jura distillery, employing architect William Delme-Evans. By 1963 their work was complete, providing much needed economic support for an isolated island community and a distillery which went on to create an eclectic and award-winning range of whiskies.

As part of the two day festival on 29 and 30 May, visitors to Jura will be able to hear about the rebirth of Jura distillery first hand and experience some of the finest malts Jura has to offer, including: Delme Evans Select, Festival Bottling 2013, Turas Mara and a rather unusual 39 ¾ year old whisky!

Master Blender Richard Paterson will be leading the tasting Master Class for this year’s unique festival bottling, a marriage showcasing the best of Jura’s heavily peated and sherry styles, containing whisky aged in a 1963 Vintage sherry butt, tying this new whisky right back to the reopening of the distillery 50 years ago.

The liquid celebration of the anniversary doesn’t stop there, as a lucky few will get to taste a whisky specifically created to recognise the work of distillery architect William Delme Evans.

Just over 500 bottles of the Delme Evans Select were released in 1988 and it completely sold out. But the distillery held some bottles back, and visitors to this year’s festival will be the last in the world to enjoy this special spirit which was created using the very stills designed by the man whose name is on the bottle.

In another first for the Jura Festival, there will be a whisky masterclass held at sea, with a 40 minute guided cruise around the small isle bay and a chance to taste the newest edition to the Jura range – Turas Mara.

Meaning “long journey”, this travel retail exclusive was inspired by a poem by island resident Jessie Scott who wrote an ode to Jura when she emigrated from the island in the 1800s. A plaque with the poem has pride of place on the beach at the point where she left the island.

Meanwhile, Paterson will also be hosting an exclusive pre-launch of the Jura 40 year old – which at the time will only be 39 ¾ years old – with festival goers getting the chance to create the tasting notes to go along with the whisky when it officially launches some time in 2014.

For more information on the Jura Distillery Whisky Festival please visit www.isleofjura.com  or email shop@jurawhisky.com

Global brand ambassador Willie Tait argues that William Delme Evans is one of the most important people in the brand’s illustrious heritage:

“He designed the distillery and the unusually tall stills that you see standing here on the island today. His work has allowed us to create one of the most revered and fastest-growing malt whiskies in the world.

“You have to admire the altruism, foresight and courage of these guys all those years ago. Today’s bean counters would regard them as insane money wasters. If you were to build a new distillery today, would you build it on a remote island like Jura? Absolutely not. But if they didn’t have the courage of their convictions 50 years ago, then this wonderful community that you see today may not exist. They deserve to have a dram raised in their honour by those making the pilgrimage here. Orwell didn’t call it the un-get-atable place for nothing.”

Distillery manager Willie Cochrane said:

“Jura has taken part in the Feis Ile for years; however 2013 is not just any ordinary year. Excuse the pun, but we are pushing the boat out to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the rebirth of our great distillery, and we’re hosting more tastings, tours and activities than ever before.

“Even those without tickets to the very special tastings can take part. There will be a range of activities and entertainment taking place around Craighouse, the “capital” of Jura, including live music in the local pub, Jura core range tastings, food in the cooperage and tours of the distillery.”

 NOTES About Jura Off the west coast of Scotland lies one of nature’s best kept secrets, the Isle of Jura.  Populated by a community of less than 200, known as Diurachs (the Gaelic name for the people of Jura), it is a place of myth, legend and intrigue – and an award-winning range of single malt whiskies which hold the promise of good fortune for all those that believe. There are five classic bottlings in the Jura Collection, each with their own distinctive flavour profiles: the light and delicate Origin 10; the rich and full bodied Diurachs’ Own 16 years old; fruity and spicy Elixir, and Superstition and Prophecy which are lightly and heavily peated respectively. To find out more visit www.jurawhisky.com The history of whisky distilling on Jura The story of whisky distilling on Jura is a colourful tale of deceit, hardship and heroism. Over 400 years ago illicit distilling was rife on the island, until in 1781 when meddling politicians introduced a ban on illegal distillation that effectively brought an end to whisky distilling on Jura. The Jura distillery was founded in 1810 by the then Laird, Archibald Campbell, but over the years it began to fall into a state of disrepair. However, the early 1960’s signalled a new era of good fortune for the distillery when two locals, Robin Fletcher (owner of the Ardlussa Estate) and Tony Riley-Smith (owner of Jura house) rebuilt it, not only bringing back this magical malt, but also creating jobs on the island. In 1963, architect Delme-Evans worked with Fletcher and Riley-Smith to introduce tall, elegant stills into the distillery and it is those very same stills that continue to produce the precious amber malt to this day.

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