Whisky Advocate

Guest Blogger: Willie Tait from Isle of Jura

February 12th, 2009

As I promised in my previous email, here’s the debut of our guest blogger: Willie Tait. He’s not sharing too many secrets with us (just yet), but he was nice enough to let us know what he’s up to, tell us about a new Jura Collection, and how you can win one.

Next up: John Glaser from Compass Box Whiskies.

Here’s Willie:

willietait1Hi all

John has asked me to contribute my thoughts to his ever growing blog.

So after much thought, and a few glasses of my favourite whisky Jura, I am now ready to venture in to the strange and wonderful world of blogging!

Scotland, like the rest of the world, is going through a wee recession. I use the word wee, the way I would say a wee dram. But in true Scots fashion, we are doing our best to ignore it and continue to enjoy life and of course our whisky.

I am sitting writing this “blog thing” whilst trapped in the house by the snow which is wonderful to look at, but less wonderful to live with when trying to get from A to B (wherever that may be).

But the snow and forced entrapment is providing wonderful inspiration for me as I try and emulate the success of our country’s most famous wordsmiths, that of Robert Burns.

Here in Scotland we are celebrating 250 years of his life with a massive year long party called the Homecoming. It’s basically an open invitation for all to come to our beautiful country and enjoy the best hospitality and events in the world. Visit www.homecomingscotland.com  for full details.

Rabbie (as he is known to close personal friends like me!) and his words are as appropriate today as they were all those years ago. “I’m truly sorry man’s dominion, Has broken Nature’s social union” could be a rally call for the green movement and is more than just a message to a mouse written more than 200 years ago!
 
Talking about works and readings, a great new book [Goodness Nose] is just out written by Whyte and Mackay’s very own Master Blender Richard Paterson. The book gives the reader a wonderful insight into the world of whisky, and also details his own colourful and entertaining life. More importantly he says nice things about me in the book – that’s worth a read all on its own.

I am pleased to say that Jura Single Malt continues to delight scotch whisky drinkers around the world And it is wonderful for me to see new Jura expressions being released. However, what is also very important to me, being a distiller, is that Jura retains its true identity. More and more brands are turning out so many new expressions that there is a growing chance that they may loose there identity.  Please be assured that any new expression of my beloved Jura will continue with its rich heritage, building on the success of our core products – the 10yr, 16yr old and of course Superstition.
 
At the Islay whisky festival – or as I prefer to call it, the Jura whisky festival – we always bring out a very special whisky to mark the occasion. Last year we crafted the Jura Elements which proved to be another great Jura success.

This year we will be launching a new Jura collection which promises to be majestic and take the brand to new heights. I am giving you the exclusive chance to win the entire collection worth approx US$500. All you have to do is guess the name given to the new collection. I have given you a wee clue in this blog, and go to www.isleofjura.com for further inspiration.

So, after you have given some thought as to what the new collection might be called, post your guess in the comment section below. I’ll be checking this blog posting and the comments. (I might even comment myself!) I will announce the winner at the end of May this year. If more than one person guesses the name of the collection, I’ll pick a name out of a hat. I also have two signed copies of Richard’s book for the two runners up.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Malt Advocate for my 2008 lifetime achievement award. Although warmly received, it’s a pity we are always too old when we receive such awards to truly enjoy and make the most of the actual awards ceremony! But I am also pleased that I am the youngest person ever to receive this award, and I am still alive to blog about the privilege (my wee joke).

Aye Willie

PS Thank you to John for the invitation to acquaint myself with your readers and share my simple but I hope entertaining thoughts.

Okay everyone. Anyone have a clue what the Isle of Jura distillery would call their new collection? If you have an idea, post it below. Willie will be lurking.

Hi all

42 Responses to “Guest Blogger: Willie Tait from Isle of Jura”

  1. Armin says:

    Hm, something like “Jura Poetry” or “Jura Writings”?

  2. Tim Spitsberg says:

    I’m going to go with “Jura Homecoming”…I just like the sound of it and every time I pour a dram of certain favorites it feels like a homecoming of sorts.

  3. Sam S. says:

    Welcome Willie, and thanks for your thoughts.
    How about “Jura Majesty.”

  4. Tim, please don’t think I’m just copying your guess – I thought of the same thing independently, since the Jura 10 bottling used to make references to “one island, one shop, one community” and tried to paint an idyllic picture. Also, they can only use “Homecoming” this year.

    So I’ll go with “Homecoming”, too.

  5. bgulien says:

    Maybe Jura Cultural or Culture.
    With individual bottles called Poetry, Fiction, Fantasy and Romance
    I had also thought of homecoming, but Tim beat me to it.
    By the way, this is a wonderful opportunity for Mr. Tait to learn new names for Jura collections for years to come.

  6. Micah says:

    I agree with Armin that there seems to be a heavy focus on writings..but my vote is with Jura Heritage.

  7. B.J. Reed says:

    I agree with Micah – Jura Heritage :)

  8. smsmmns says:

    Great first blog, Willie. I am going with Jura Identity

  9. CK says:

    Damn! I was going with Jura Identity. What I get for getting to work late…

  10. Eric says:

    Thanks Willie!

    how about Jura Vista -given your view of the snow today….

    Regards,
    Eric.

  11. DavidG says:

    An introspective dram, perhaps the Jura Inspiration?

  12. Chris Wells says:

    Since I’m sure Jura “blog thing” isn’t a consideration, I too go with Jura Heritage

  13. Pete says:

    Jura Homecoming also smacked me in the face as I read.

  14. John Hansell says:

    Wow, great names. I can’t think of anything that beats those names (not right now, anyway). But I’ll keep thinking…

    Anyone else out there have an idea or two?

  15. Tim Spitsberg says:

    It’s been busy since last night…glad I got here early :) . Let me jump in again with “The (Rabbie/Robert) Burns Collection”…now how the heck are we all going to wait until May to find out the answer? I guess with malts, as with most things, patience is a virtue…sigh.

  16. Roger Ford says:

    Willie refers to Robert Burns’ poem “To A Mouse” with his statement: “I’m truly sorry man’s dominion, Has broken Nature’s social union” could be a rally call for the green movement and is more than just a message to a mouse written more than 200 years ago!

    Given the name of your Limited Edition Bottling: Jura Elements (Earth, Air, Wind & Water), perhaps another name in similar vein with the green movement and Robert Burns references to nature in his poems -
    Jura Nature.

  17. Aye Willie says:

    What a great selection of names, getting good ideas for the future. Keep trying my friends.

  18. John Hansell says:

    Thanks Willie for chiming in. Wow, so none of those were correct? I guess we’ll have to think deeper and lubricate our brain cells with som Jura malt to come up with the correct answer.

  19. Mike Dereszynski says:

    Hi John,Hi Willie,
    Great blog by both of you.
    Last November as I sat down with a dram to enjoy my 60th Birthday I listened to an interview of Mr Tait with Mark Gillespie. I think Mark was right you have to write a book.Ive read “Goodness Nose” a great insight into Whisky and Mr. Patersons colourful and entertaining life.
    I’ll miss the stories of Michael Jackson.The Legends of Whisky are getting older and like the rare whiskies and lost distilleries our chances of experiencing what they know becomes increasingly rare.We celebrate the life of Robbie Burns 250 years after his birth. You said yourself we need to continue to enjoy life and of course our whisky.Uisage Beatha is “the water of life”!John and Malt Advocate gave you the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award.
    John you said you couldnt think of anything that beats the names suggested!
    Willie has spent 34 years of his life on Jura,starting as a Tunsman,a Mashman,a Stillman,a”Brewer” and a Manager.Thats quite a life an ISLAND LIFE.
    That would be my suggestion for Jura’s and Willie’s new collection.
    And may Willie be remembered as long and as well as Robbie Burns and the Paps of Jura.
    SLAINTE !!
    Mike Dereszynski

  20. Armin says:

    How about “Jura Seasons”? You’ve mentioned the snow, so that’s the winter.

    Or the “Jura Jottings”? Inspired by the local newsletter, may be.

  21. Willie,

    I had the pleasure of meeting you on Jura in September with 6 fellow Calgarians (Alberta, Canada). You were a gracious host, we all greatly enjoyed the book on Jura you gave us.

    I will be in Scotland in May, and with luck hope to make another visit to Jura. I won’t likely be there for the “Jura” whisky festival, but I try to make it none the less.

    My guess on the name for your festival bottling is “Jura Identity”. You could expand on this and next year release the “Jura Ultimatum” followed finally by the “Jura Supremacy”!

    Best Regards
    Andrew Ferguson
    Calgary, AB, Canada

    PS- You failed to mention in your blog how famous you are in Japan…

  22. Jon W says:

    Hmmmm…I think “Jura Seasons” is an excellent guess.

    How about “Jura Invitation”?

  23. Aye Willie says:

    Mike
    what nice things to say. It give me so much pleasure to hear of people sitting down and having a wee dram of Jura or infact any whisky. We spend too much time trying to get one over on each other. The simple things in life ar always the best, it’s just remembering it.
    Good try with the name.

  24. Aye Willie says:

    Andrew
    You and your friends are always welcome on Jura. So glad you have read and liked Richards book.
    So many great names for our Jura collection,
    keep trying.

  25. As for the bottling’s potential name: I checked for synonyms of Robert Burns – he was called “Ploughman Poet” or the “Bard of Ayrshire”. So either one of those would make an interesting name, I think (i.e. “Jura – Ploughman Poet” …).

    Maybe too simle an idea? How about some more clues, Willie?

  26. Armin says:

    Keeping with the writing theme, “Jura Authors”, “Jura Writers”, “Jura Poets” or “Jura Bards” comes to mind. There’s obviously George Orwell, then there have been a number of writers in residence recently including Will Self.

  27. Tim F says:

    Perhaps “Jura Goodness” or “Jura Nose” in tribute to Richard’s book?

    Only kidding. With all that phrasing about majestic heights, surely it’s got to be “Paps of Jura” or some variation thereof? I believe that was how Barnard described them back in the day :)

  28. Bob Townsend says:

    Thanks Willie and John. Good stuff, this.

    A wee dram of Jura 16 year old, moments reading Tam o’ Shanter, and more time comtemplating Scotland’s celebration, I like “Rabbie’s Homecoming.”

    Slainte!

  29. Jon W says:

    Jura Recession?

  30. Jon W: Gee – hopefully, in a year’s time, we’ll all be able to laugh about this. Maybe at that time Jura WILL call it that, as a celebration of victory.

  31. Antti S says:

    Hi, Willie,

    Thanks for the excellent post. After taking a quick detour to the distillery site, I’m going with two guesses: “Jura Heritage” (the more obviously marketing-language choice), or the “Jura Diaries” (slightly less obvious but just as bristling with marketing angles). “The Jura Signatures” wouldn’t be too far fetched either, I guess, re: the writers’ retreat thingy. Or go prehistoric for a series of ancient casks: The Jurassic! ;)

    I had a slightly unfortunate first encounter with the Superstition, btw, Willie, in the form of a dodgy cork (it was mouldy, and had rather affected the taste). The matter was resolved most satisfactorily and exceptionally quickly, for which I guess I might as well thank you now that I’ve got the chance.

    Slainte!

  32. Antti S says:

    Oops, I guess that’s four guesses, not two…

    Ah well, too late now. :)

  33. Aye Willie says:

    Hi Antti’s
    Great you got your superstition sorted out, we try to please.Hope the bottle was not half empty bofore you found the problem, are you Scottish by any chance.Take as many guesses as you like my friend, Oops all wrong.

    Aye
    Willie

  34. bgulien says:

    Thought deep and hard, spelled out the complete website, suffering from a colossal thirst, I came up with two possibilities:

    Magical and Idyllic

    Wrong of course, but did my best.

  35. Antti S says:

    Willie,

    it wasn’t half empty, to be sure. The first couple of drams were had in poor lighting conditions with a few other men of the family so it had lost maybe 2dl of its contents (it was a 1 litre bottle), but later when I got home I decided to take a proper look at the cork, because I’d thought it tasted a bit strange. In bright light I could clearly see a greenish-gray fuzz in a few crevices of the cork material. With pictures of this and the bottling code etc. everything was sorted very quickly and smoothly with the JBG QC Controller who had replied to my e-mail. I’m afraid his name escapes me.

    And no, I’m not Scottish, but Finnish. And living on the Isle of Man of all places, at least for a while longer.

    One more guess: The Paps of Jura (I think someone else also made this guess, but can’t be bothered to check)

  36. Lori C. says:

    Hi Willie,
    I enjoyed reading your posting on John’s blog. It’s exciting to hear Jura is introducing another collection in time for this year’s Festival. What I’ve always found so fascinating about whiskies is how they’re a reflection of the people and the land they come from. Jura’s taste profile is unique to the other island whiskies and so is its landscape.

    When you see Jura sparkling out there in the Hebrides, one thing dominates the view – the Paps. They’re also a big part of the community’s activities – attracting hikers locally and from around the world. I saw last year how much the distillery and the community support the brave folks who run the annual Fells race and with names like Mountain of Gold, Mountain of Sound, and Sacred Mountain, I’m sure you’ll find the perfect whiskies to represent them.

    So my guess is that the next collection will represent the Paps of Jura.

    Richard Patterson’s book was great and I agree with one of the other contributors that it’s important to preserve the fascinating history of the world’s distilleries and the people who run them. Perhaps you’ll write a book about what it was like making whisky in such a remote place? And I’m sure you have some good stories of your own about some whisky characters!

    Congratulations on your lifetime achievement award. It’s well deserved. Hope to see you at the Whisky Fest in Chicago.

    Aye,
    Lori

  37. Aye Willie says:

    Hi Lori
    So good to hear from you, what are you doing these day’s.It would be great to see you and the rest of the gang at Chicago whisky fest, we will have to see my other plans first.Hope your weather is starting to improve, spring is in the air

    Aye
    Willie

  38. John Hansell says:

    Willie, I must say that as our first guest blogger, you sure have been popular. Thanks for joining us. Now if only someone could guess the correct answer…

  39. Mike Dereszynski says:

    Hi again John,Willie,

    I was talking with Jim Rutledge last night.He is a busy man these days as usual.He promises he will try to get something together for a future blog contribution.Busy busy busy…It seems thats the case for most of you in the “business” of Whisky. I’m glad for the occasions when I can listen to and talk with the giants and new pioneers in the world of distilling.Jim is another of the legends that I hope has time to write down some of his stories.I will take both Willie and your advice and try to remember that the best of life are the simple things. With that in mind I will offer up my final four suggestions for the upcomming collection:
    1. LIFE
    2. REMEMBRANCE
    3. MEMORIES
    4. SIMPLICITY
    In any case I look forward to their arrival.
    SLAINTE

  40. rob says:

    Homecoming!

  41. [...] you may remember, Isle of Jura’s Willie Tait posted up a guest blog here back in March announcing a contest to guess the name of the new Jura line of whiskies. A few people [...]

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