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Issue 33 - The Miller's Tale

Whisky Magazine Issue 33
September 2003

 

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The Miller's Tale

The Islay-Jura ferry wasn't working.

The Islay-Jura ferry wasn't working. My party and I thought it best to leave it a while. Clearly, we wouldn't make the midday crossing. Anticipating that it be a while before the ferry was running again, we decided to head back to the south end of the island and visit the Kildalton distilleries. We returned to Port Askaig at 8pm. I thought that to ask if there had been any progress seemed a perfectly innocuous and reasonable question. However, the ferryman looked at me as if I had eaten a baby before emitting an incredulous “Nooooooo!”, I can only say that – once again – I had severely misjudged Islay time. Clearly, I hadn't set my watch when I left Glasgow...

It takes time to adjust. You see, on Islay – and Jura – there is no need to rush. I suppose that is why it takes Ardbeg a majestic 17 years to mature and Lagavulin an equally impressive 16 years. I know both of these have younger siblings (incidentally, have you tried the Lagavulin 12? It is fantastic) but , in my opinion, these teenagers are the real deal. So why hurry to get back to Jura? I had a lunch appointment. So what? The ferry breakdown gave me the opportunity to wander around the warehouses with Stuart Thomson at Ardbeg and to enjoy a much needed cup of tea and slice of cake at the Old Kiln Café. I recall tasting some exquisite whiskies too.

The delay also gave my party the chance to spend an unforgettable couple of hours in the company of the incomparable Jim McEwan at Bruichladdich. Many of ...

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