The Dram Initiative #005 – Jura With Willie Tait
Event Date: September 23rd, 2013
On the evening of Monday September 23, 2013 the Dram Initiative South West Alberta Congregation and guests gathered in the Marda Loop Community Whisky Hall to enjoy one of the largest collections of Jura middle cut ever assembled in one location. On tap were sixteen different expressions.
The night kicked off with a formal tasting of nine whiskies, starting with a Trio box set of 15 year olds, all bottled at 46% ABV called the “Paps of Jura”. The Paps set is made up of: Mountain of Gold (Pinot Noir finish), Mountain of Sound (Cabernet Sauvignon finish) and The Sacred Mountain (Barolo finish). Next up were the three Boutique Barrels: 1996 JN Bourbon (56.5% ABV), 1995 JO Bourbon (56.5% ABV) and the 1993 JI Oloroso finished (54% ABV). The last three, and the end to the formal tasting, were the 30 year old Camas an Staca (44% ABV finished three years in Oloroso sherry butts), 1977 Jura (46% ABV three 1st fill bourbon casks finished for one year in a Ruby Port Pipe) and the 1976 Feith A Charainn (46% ABV three 1st fill bourbon hogsheads).
The Dram Initiative Whisky Worshippers were schooled throughout the formal tasting by the omnipotent guest speaker, Mr. Willie Tait, AKA Big Willie, Master Distiller and Global Brand Ambassador of the Isle of Jura. He began working at the Jura Distillery in 1975 as a Prole and was appointed to the middle-class as the Assistant Distillery Manager in 1979 and finally succumbing to the upper-class in 1985 as the Distillery Manager.
In 1993, in a strange doublethink Jura / Islay conflict Mr. Tait ended up Distillery Manager of both Jura and Bruichladdich on the neighboring mysterious Island of Peat. In 1999, Mr. Tait left Jura for the village of Fettercairn, where he became the Manager of three Distilleries: Fettercairn, Tamnavulin and Tullibardine. Mr. Tait found himself in a new career to newspeak for the Ministry of Truth as Global Master Distiller / Global Brand Ambassador for Jura Single Malt Whisky in 2003.
Some notable quotables issued by Mr. Tait during the formal tasting:
– “Marvelous bunch of whiskies, and yes I made them all … I’m that fucking old”.
– “On Jura each sheep has its own name; after all you can’t go shagging a sheep if you don’t know its name”.
– “How do you drink your scotch whisky? …. With either your right hand or left hand”.
– “Bourbon is Scotch whisky gone wrong”.
– “Difference in barley varieties… Macallan’s golden promise, oh that’s shit”.
– “I may be a Willie, but Richard Paterson is a Dick”.
After the formal tasting, the real drinking began, with a free-for-all mini-fest of seven additional expressions of juice from the Isle of Jura. The Dram Initiative members & guests were invited to sample from bottles of the 10 year old Origin, 12 year old Elixir, 16 year old Diurachs Own, 18 year old, 21 year old, Superstition and the Prophecy.
For the benefit of the great unwashed, The Jura Distillery was founded in 1963 and is located on the Oceanian Island of Jura and derives its name from the Old Norse for “Deer Island”. The Isle of Jura is seven miles wide and thirty miles long and it has only one road, one pub and one distillery. The current Distillery Manager is Willie Cochrane, AKA Wee Willie, which gives credence to the statement, that while you’re on the Isle of Jura, Willie is watching you, also some have suggested that the all seeing eye on the front of the Jura Prophecy Bottle is the one eyed Willie. The Island is home to less than 200 people and over 5,000 deer, which could make you wonder who the Buck is really is in charge. The locals are known as the Diurachs / Proles, which is Gaelic / Orwellian, for the working class people of Jura. The island is dominated by three voluptuous massive mounds called the Paps of Jura. The word Pap is an Old Norse word for female breast or man cans. These steep-sided Madonna Maidenform conical quartzite mountains stand like beacons on its western side.
The distillery is owned by Whyte & Mackay, United Spirits limited (USL), a subsidiary of United Breweries Group of India, Eastasia. On May 27, 2013 Diageo, also known as the Ministry of Plenty, on their quest for world whisky domination, purchased a controlling interest in USL. Diageo, upset about the regulators in the UK possibly forcing them to sell their controlling shares of USL due to anti-trust concerns decided to show the world what could happen if they were opposed. In a show of strength, Diageo pressured Google Maps to make the Island of Jura vanish. Thanks to whisky enthusiasts around the world for sending Google their many maps of “Distilleries of Scotland”, clearly showing the Jura Distillery. As a result, Google had no choice but to reinstate the Island and shortly thereafter the Distillery resumed production.
Many thanks to J Wheelock of Authentic Wine & Spirits Merchants, Western Canada (A Division of Charton Hobbs) for providing the incredible intoxicating single malts we enjoyed this night and for arranging for our guest speaker.
A special thanks to our unique and knowledgeable guest speaker Mr. Willie Tait who, through his singular charm, opened our minds and warmed our hearts, livers and kidneys towards the whisky, the Island and the people of Jura.
As a thank you to Mr. Wheelock and Mr. Tait, the Dram Initiative presented them with a rare limited edition Dram Initiative crystal Glencairn whisky go cup. We also presented Mr. Tait the heel from the Jura Boutique Barrels JO 1995, on which Mr. Richard Paterson, Master Blender at Whyte & Mackay from a prior visit, penned in silver marker “Richard Paterson, I taught Willie Tait all about Scotch whisky”.
Your humble drudge,
– Words: Maltmonster
– Photos: Curt