Posts Tagged ‘Islay’

Georgie Crawford of Lagavulin Distillery — In 140 or Less

Friday, March 14th, 2014

Author - Caroline DewarAnother in our occasional series of Tweet-style interviews. As always, it’s 140 characters or less (we don’t count the spaces) in the answers from the distillery manager of Lagavulin. Georgie Crawford left Islay at thirteen to live on the mainland. In her work life, among a few other places, she spent some time at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society before joining Diageo. She returned to Islay a few years ago to take over the management of Lagavulin.

What’s the view from your office window?

Today it is blue skies and green rolling fields full of sheep. I can also see my house, and now it’s sunny I can see I need to clean the windows!

Get a little man in for that! What’s happening at Lagavulin this week?

Really busy on distilling as usual, but focusing on pulling together final details of our Fèis Ìle program before the tickets go on sale.

What’s happening for Fèis Ìle [Islay Festival] at Lagavulin this year?

Can’t say yet, BUT the staff have outdone themselves with great ideas to entertain our loyal visitors. We are finalizing the Fèis bottling too; another cracker in 2014.

GCrawfordWe’ll hear more soon then, on your website. You’ve been there a few years now. Anything changed in the distillery or company in that time?

We have focused our efficiency and are making more Lagavulin than ever. With the growth in whisky it all counts so we are glad we will have more whisky for the future.

Sounds great. You were looking at re-use of waste energy, etc. Progress?

There’s a new project on this in the pipeline (no pun) and we have optimized the stillhouse energy. I’m happy with the results to date.

What do you mean by optimized here?

By managing distillation temps we can get better heat transfer in our pre-heat heat exchangers, which saves the steam usage at site.

I was going to say ‘cool,’ but not if it’s steam! Very efficient. I’ve met your new female colleague, also called Georgie. A new Diageo hiring policy?

Georgie Bell. We haven’t met yet as she had to call off her visit due to winter gales. She also worked at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society which is just spooky!

Some mainlanders who now live on Islay run back every couple of months for some R&R. You?

No! I love the islands so much that this year’s trips are Orkney & Iceland! It’s the year of the seafaring Vikings in our house!

I know you like to travel. Are those destinations for work or pleasure?

Both for pleasure; you need to leave the whisky behind sometimes. (Or maybe pack a little bottle in your luggage.)

Sounds reasonable. You traveled far this last year, I hear. Where and why?

China on holiday for the culture and heritage. I will remember the view on top of the Great Wall forever. The Terracotta Warriors were also amazing.

What else fills your non-work time?

Our new puppy Sidheag (means wolf) is taking up most of my free time of late. She is driving me and poor 8 y.o. Jock, the Westie, mad!

Fabulous. Another Westie? And I was going to ask how Jock was enjoying island life…

She is a lab cross wire-haired pointer who will hopefully be a gun dog down the line. Jock is standing his ground and loves the longer walks!

Jock not bossed around then. You like cooking; any signature dish? Are your Lagavulin chocolate truffles in the shop there?

I can’t poison the customers! I make a mean lasagna, its bacon that’s the secret ingredient. Can’t beat my homemade shortbread with a cup of tea.

You were going to be starting a vegetable garden…

We should all have aspirations in life and try to live our dreams but if you saw my cauliflowers you would say, “Stick to making whisky!”

Okay, we will. Are there any distillers you particularly admire (anywhere)?

Pre-Diageo, I was just a whisky anorak. I will always remember John MacLellan spending time with me. Billy Stitchell [at Caol Ila] was my in-house go-to.

What would be your desert island dram? Doesn’t have to be Lagavulin!

Only one – impossible! Lagavulin Jazz 2010 from home or Longmorn 15 yo, Talisker 18 yo or Balvenie 12 yo depending on my mood and the weather!

Great choices, if too many. And it’s all over! Hope that wasn’t too testing and thank you so much.

Islay to get ninth distillery

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

Dominic RoskrowExclusive by Dominic Roskrow

Islay is to get a brand new distillery, the ninth for the island.

Plans have been drawn up and work will begin soon on the new distillery site, which is on the shores of Loch Indaal, close to Bowmore and across the water from Bruichladdich. It is set to open in the spring of 2015.

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Not the view from the distillery, but not far away.

The distillery will be called Gartbreck and will be Islay’s smallest. It is presumed that it is named after Gartbreck Farm, which lies on the road from Bowmore to the airport and is within sight of the Bowmore distillery. Its lands stretch down to the sea loch.

No official announcement will be made for some weeks—probably towards the end of the year—but the independent initiator of the project, who will also be its future manager, says that work on the new distillery will definitely go ahead. The source of this story has considerable distilling experience.

“I am providing this information very much unofficially, but it is 100 percent correct,” he said. “The project has now reached the stage where it will inevitably start to leak, so I would prefer to allow some limited and controlled leaks to make sure that the information is not distorted.”

To prove the substance of the story, the source outlined in confidence further details of the new distillery, including output, water source and style of the buildings, and he sent through pictures of the site.

The new distillery is further evidence (were it needed) of the continuing boom for whisky, and for Scotch whisky in particular. Islay went 125 years without getting a new distillery. Now it is set to have two in a decade, following Kilchoman’s opening in 2005.

Great little video of Islay’s scenic beauty (and Bowmore whisky)

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

It’s actually prepared by Morrison Bowmore Distillers to promore Bowmore whisky, but most of the video consists of beautiful aerial shots of Islay. (The Bowmore Distillery shots are pretty cool too.)  Have a look here.

It makes me want to hop on a plane and fly to Islay. (Not to mention pour myself a dram or two.)

Kilchoman: Own the first bottle from the first cask

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Spirit from Kilchoman, the newest Islay distillery, turns three years old in September and can legally be called whisky. You can own the first bottle of whisky taken from the very first cask. It’s being auctioned off for charity during the Islay whisky festival (Feis Ile) coming up later this month, but you don’t have to be there to participate.

Here are the details:

Kilchoman Distillery to Auction a Piece of History from Whisky Cask No.1
With its very first single malt being launched on 9th September this year, Kilchoman Distillery on the western isle of Islay is giving water of life connoisseurs an opportunity of a whisky lifetime.

On the 28th May, Kilchoman Distillery will auction one bottle of the three year old malt out of the very first cask that was filled in December 2005. The limited edition bottle will have a unique design and will be the only one of its kind. It is set to be a dream come true for whisky collectors and fans of Kilchoman.

The auction takes place at Kilchoman Distillery’s Open Day on Thursday 28th May at 12.30pm, during Feis Ile, the Islay Festival of Malt & Music. All proceeds of the auction will go to local Islay charities.

Anthony Wills, Founder & Managing Director of Kilchoman Distillery said: “We are looking forward to welcoming people from all over the world through the doors of Kilchoman Distillery during the festival. We have a very exciting year ahead, making history in the whisky industry and across the world.”

He added: “We are delighted to auction the limited edition bottle of our very first single malt to one lucky person. It is an excellent opportunity to take home a piece of Kilchoman History and we hope it will raise a considerable amount of money for local charities.”

The much anticipated single malt has been getting seals of approval from a very young age. The one month old Kilchoman spirit has received a remarkable score of 94 out of 100 in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2008, rating it as a “superstar whisky that gives us all a reason to live!” In April 2009, the two year old spirit sold out on the first day of the Limburg Whisky Fair in Germany.

Kilchoman Distillery prides itself in taking whisky back to its roots and is the first distillery to be built on Islay for 124 years. A visit to Kilchoman Distillery gives everyone the opportunity to see all that is best in the grass-roots traditions of malt whisky distilling – from barley to bottle. The distillery location, Rockside Farm is said to grow the best malting barley on the island.

Kilchoman Distillery is accepting telephone and email bids 30 minutes prior to the auction. Please telephone 01496 850011 or email anthony.wills@kilchomandistillery.com. For more information on Kilchoman Distillery, announcements and events please visit www.kilchomandistillery.com.