Scotland and Scotch whisky: Isles  whisky through the producing distilleries: history, making, maps and tasting notes

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Jura


Isle of Jura Distillery
Craighouse, Isle of Jura
Argyll PA60 7XT
+44 1496 820 240

Owner: Whyte & MacKay 

Creation year: 1810


The Isle of Jura has less than 300 inhabitants and is famous for its deers and its mountains, the Jura Paps. According to some sources, Isle of Jura could be the oldest scottish distillery.
The first traces of distillation are found as soon as the 16th century.
The distillery has been renamed several times. Originally it was called Caol'nan Eileanm Craighouse, Small Isles and Lagg.
The distillery has been build in 1810 and the first known owner is William Abercrombie who obtained a licence in 1831. From the next year the distillery was managed by Archibald Fletcher for about 20 years. It has been owned by several owners during the 19th century: J&A Gardner, Norman Buchananm J.K.&D. Orr and James Furgusson.
A decision of the landlord to collect taxes on all the buildings decided the Furgusson family to move all the material to Glasgow. This was not enough to discourage the landlord who continued to hound the Furgussons. But the Furgussons were clever people, and they knew the tax law was not applicable to buildings without a roof. So they went back to Jura and dismantled the distillery roofs...
After having been closed for about 40 years between 1914 and 1958, the distillery has been completely rebuild with the financial aid of the Scottish & Newcastle Breweries. 
The distillery has been build by the well known architect Delmé Evans who also built amongst others, the distillery of Glenallachieand Jura. Evans died on 6 october 2003, aged 83.
The number of stills doubled in 1978. 
In the past, the malt produced by the distillery was much more peaty, on the model of those of the neighbour Isle of Islay.
The Scottish & Newcastle Breweries left the distillery in 1985 to Invergordon Distillers who became part of White & Mackay. This last company became the Kyndal Spirits in 2001.
From 2003 it is one of the key distilleries of Whyte and Mackay Ltd, formally Kyndal Spirits Ltd. Kyndal Spirits Lyd changed its name in Whyte and Mackay Ltd in 2003.




Arran


Arran Distillery 
Lochranza, Arran 
Argyll KA27 8HJ 
+44 1770 830 264

Owner: Isle of Arran Distilleries

Creation date: 1995


The distillery of the Isle of Arran has been founded by Harold Currie, former director of Chivas and of House of Campbell. The spirit elaborated in the distillery can officially be called "whisky" since summer 1998. To celebrate this event, a limited bottling has been released, to resume an ancestral tradition. Indeed, 150 years ago whisky was already produced on the Isle of Islay. This whisky used to be considered as one of the bests of Scotland.
Isle of Arran is sometimes called "Scotland in miniature" because all the variety of landscapes found in Scotland are present on this small island, like mountains, plains, lakes valleys and royal castles.
In those days, there were about fifty distilleries on the island, most of them being moonlight distilleries. 
A part of the casks are stored in the warehouses of Springbank, due to a lack of room in the distillery, and the legal impossibility to extent the current warehouses at Arran distillery.
The whisky of Arran is used in lots of blends, among others Loch Ranze and Holy Isle Cream Liquor.




Talisker


Talisker Distillery
Carbost,
Isle of Skye Inverness-shire IV47 8SR
+44 1478 640 314

Owner: Diageo

Creation year: 1830


Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous writer wrote in one of his poems "The king o' drinks, as I conceive it,Talisker, Islay or Glenlivet". 
Situated on the banks of loch Harport, the Talisker distillery was created by the brothers Mac Askill.
The distillery became the property of Donald MacLennan and J.R.W. Anderson, who went to jail for 6 months for swindling on the quality of the goods. During his stay in jail, the distillery was declared bankrupt. 
Roderick Kemp and Alexander Grigor Allan (co-owner of Glenlossie) purchased the distillery in 1880, and completely rebuilt it. Allan bought the shares of Kemp, who founded the Macallan distillery.
A merger with Dailuaine was the birth of the Dailuaine-Talisker Distilleries Ltd. After the death of Thomas MacKenzie who was the distillery manager, a major part of the assets of were taken over by John Dewar & Sons, W.P. Lowrie & Co (member of the James Buchanan & Co group) and John Walker and sons. This group of blenders became later the D.C.L. (Distillers Company Ltd.) in 1925.
The distillery used to practice the triple distillation until 1928.
The distillery was closed during the second world war, and after a fire who destroyed the stills room in 1960. The distillery was rebuild and ready for production as soon as 1962.
Since the last alteration works in 1997, a great part of the malt is stocked in warehouses on the continent, and brought there by tanker-lorry from the distillery.
Talisker is one of the single malts of the collection "Classic Malts" launched in 1988 by UDV.
A great deal is marketed as single malt, but Talisker is a part of the Johnnie Walker and White Horse blends too.




Isle of Skye

Still on the West coast, Northern from Oban, the magnificent Isle of Skye settles one of the most typical distilleries of Scotland, Talisker

Scapa


Scapa Distillery
St Ola, Kirkwall
Orkney KW15 1SE
+44 01856 872 071

Owner: Pernod-Ricard

Creation year: 1885


The Scapa distillery has been founded by John Townsend and MacFarlane, distillers from Glasgow, and is settled on the banks of the famous "Scapa Flow". Townsend was also famous in the Speyside area.
During World War I, the distillery barely avoided a fire thanks to the intervention of sailors of the Royal Navy. The distillery was used as an ammunition for the british army.
The distillery was sold to the Bloch brothers, owners of Glen Scotia in Campbeltown in 1936.
In 1954 Hiram Walker bought the distillery and he added amongst other things a Lomond still.
Owned by Allied Distillers, the Scapa distillery is mothballed since 1994.
A major part of the production is used in the Teacher's and Ballantine's blends.
The Scapa distillery is under control of Pernod-Ricard since the French Company purchased the activities of Allied Domecq in 2005. 




Highland Park


Highland Park Distillery
Holm Road, Kirkwall
Orkney KW15 ISU
+44 1856 874 619

Owner: The Edrington Group

Creation year: 1798


Highland Park, the most Northern of all Scottish distilleries dominates both the city of Kirkwall and the famous Scapa Flow. At the end of the 18th century, preacher Magnus Eunson who was a famous smuggler, is supposed to have distilled spirit on the place of the current distillery. He was hiding stocks of illegal spirit under the pulpit in the church. This preacher who was a native of Orkney has been canonized here later, but the church of Kirkwall has not been named after him, but after Magnus Erlendsson who died some 600 years earlier. 
The current distillery has been built in 1825 by Robert Borwick, but is became soon the property of John Robertson who was the excise man who jailed Magnus Eunson for moonshine distilling. Later on the ownership of the distillery has been shared between Borwick and Robertson, until the last retired. After the death of Robert Borwick, his son George became manager of the business until 1860.
After this, Highland Park has been owned by different people since 1890 when James Grant, owner of The Glenlivet formed a partnership with William Stuart, owner of Miltonduff.
The production capacity was doubled in 1898, 10 years after the buying-up of William Stuarts shares by James Grant.
It is part of the Highland Distillers group since 1937. 
The Highland Distillers group has been acquired by Edrington Group in November 1999 for £ 601m.
Highland Park is part of the composition of Long John amongst others.




Orkney

Situated in the extreme North, off John o' Groats, the sea winds are so strong on Orkney Islands that even the trees can hardly resist. The wild and nearly hostile nature didn't impeach people building 2 distilleries, Scapaand the mythic Highland Park.

Isle of Arran

Situated southern of the Mull of Kintyre, the Isle of Arran has one of the youngest and most promising distilleries of Scotland, Arran. Work began in 2017 and a first distillation is expected to take place in 2019. Lagg belongs to the same owners as Arran.

Ledaig


Tobermory Distillery
Tobermory, Isle of Mull
Argyll PA75 6NR
+44 1668 302 647

Owner: Burn Stewart Distillers

Creation date: 1823


Ledaig is a brand of the distillery Tobermory.

The distillery has been founded in 1823 in the buildings of a former brewery created in 1798 by the same John Sinclair. The Tobermory distillery is the only legal one on the Isle of Mull.
In those days it was called Ledaig.
The distillery was closed between 1837 and 1878.
In 1890 it was sold to John Hopkins & Co who integrated it in the DCL (Distillers Company Ltd.) in 1916.
Closed again for more than 40 years in 1928, Tobermory reopened in 1972 under the name Ledaig. One of the companies who contributed to its reopening was the Xeres producer Domecq.
However the distillery was mothballed again in 1975.
The distillery belongs currently to Burn Stewart. Burn Stewart has been bought by a company based in Trinidad, CL Financial Ltd, who owns Angostura amongst other spirit brands. Other distilleries belonging to Burn Stewart are, Bunnahabhain and  Deanston.
In 1990 the distillery resumed its activities under the name Tobermory. The distillery produces 2 different single malts. The first one, non peaty called Tobermory and the other one, called Ledaig which is extremely peaty.
The major part of the production is used in the blends of the group Scottish Leader and Black Prince, and about 50% is sold to other blenders.




Tobermory


Tobermory Distillery
Tobermory, Isle of Mull
Argyll PA75 6NR
+44 1668 302 647

Owner: Burn Stewart Distillers

Creation date: 1823


The distillery has been founded in 1823 in the buildings of a former brewery created in 1798 by the same John Sinclair. The Tobermory distillery is the only legal one on the Isle of Mull.
In those days it was called Ledaig.
The distillery was closed between 1837 and 1878.
In 1890 it was sold to John Hopkins & Co who integrated it in the DCL (Distillers Company Ltd.) in 1916.
Closed again for more than 40 years in 1928, Tobermory reopened in 1972 under the name Ledaig. One of the companies who contributed to its reopening was the Xeres producer Domecq.
However the distillery was mothballed again in 1975.
The distillery belongs currently to Burn Stewart. Burn Stewart has been bought by a company based in Trinidad, CL Financial Ltd, who owns Angostura amongst other spirit brands. Other distilleries belonging to Burn Stewart are, Bunnahabhain and  Deanston.
In 1990 the distillery resumed its activities under the name Tobermory. The distillery produces 2 different single malts. The first one, non peaty called Tobermory and the other one, called Ledaig which is extremely peaty.
The major part of the production is used in the blends of the group Scottish Leader and Black Prince, and about 50% is sold to other blenders.




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