Sorry to cause a fuss, but I was impressed with Peter Mulryan's excellent letter in WM17, and his parting plea "let's not be taken in." I hope we can rely on WM to help dispel the myths and solve the mysteries that Marcin referred to above, and that WM will champion the interests of the whisky enthusiasts as well as the whisky makers, by challenging misleading pr and corporate spin whenever it rears up to to bamboozle the customer.
Nothing wrong with myth and mystery, so long as it is not presented as fact.
The quote was that the well "had been previously used by monks, the previous occupants of the land on which the distillery stands." But librarians and archivists tell me they can find no no record monks ever lived at the Strathisla site. There was a castle nearby (the ruins of Milton Tower still stand), but no monastery.
Re Fons Bulliens - I confess to anorak tendancies. I have searched the Seafield Estate papers in search of the name. I found 16th century papers that refer to a spring or well on the site, but it is not named. If you have a reference, I'd be grateful to receive it. But the earliest reference I have found to "Fons Bulliens" is in a history of Strathisla produced by Seagram in 1986. Which is also the earliest reference I have seen to monks living at Strathisla, and which appears to be a highly unreliable source.
I'll take your word on Bowmore, but I don't believe that Littlemill or Glenturret is older than Strathisla (founded in 1785 or 1786). The earliest historical record of distilleries at L and G are from the 1800s.
"After George Taylor's death, the distillery went into the ownership of Mr William Longmore..." Well, eventually. Taylor died 1816. A list of distilleries working 1816-19 compiled by the Scottish Excise Board does not contain the name of Milton/Strathisla. It seems to have remained shut for several years. In 1826 it was reopened by MacDonald Ingram & Co, a firm composed of a coppersmith and other local tradesmen. That business finally went bust in 1829, and Longmore boutght the distillery in 1830.
Distilling from corn was banned in Scotland in 1795, 1801, 1809 and 1813. I can't see 1824 as a date of any significance in the history of Strathisla.
I agree Strathisla is a wonderful place, and I really enjoy the product. The distillery was run as a local, old-fashioned business, with many local people as shareholders. Records show it supplied a great deal of its new make to publicans and shopkeepers in the area, to sell as single malt. From the 1920s until the early 1940s, the stuff was even bottled as a single malt on site.
An interesting coincidence - One of the men named in the Inland Revenue's investigation into the events at Strathisla in 1944 was Samuel Rosenbloom, who admitted receiving arrangement fees as part of the complicated deals involved, and who was suspected by Inland Revenue commissioners to have received 3,000 gallons of whisky too. Mr Rosenbloom also went by the name of Campbell, and was the founder of the company which became known as Campbell Distillers - now the Scotch whisky subsidiary of Pernod, which is set to become the new owner of Strathisla.