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Issue 46 - Jack of all trades (Duncan Buie)

Whisky Magazine Issue 46
March 2005


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Jack of all trades (Duncan Buie)

He's here, he's there... it's not easy to pinpoint what Duncan Buie does. But Richard Jones has a go

Before I interviewed Duncan Buie, mashman and stillman at Isle of Jura distillery, I was told, “Yes, he's more than happy to speak to you, but he doesn't really think there is a typical day in his working life to talk about.” He wasn't kidding.

“My work at the distillery is my main job,” Duncan began by saying, “but I'm on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week in my other voluntary positions, managing the coastguard and fire services on the island of Jura. You have to be ready to go at any time, at a moment's notice – so I never really know what I'll be doing on a particular day.”

Born on Jura, Duncan (pictured right) spent several years working on the mainland before he was drawn back to the island around 26 years ago.

“I started in the warehouse at Isle of Jura distillery, but I certainly wasn't planning on staying here as long as I have,” Duncan says. “I then moved inside the distillery as a mashman/stillman, but returned to the warehouse as the supervisor a few years later. It's only fairly recently that I was drafted back into the distillery again because we were short of numbers.

“My father worked in both the coastguard and fire services, and I joined him when I moved back to Jura. “I've been doing the work ever since and because Jura is a small place we don't get an awful lot of calls. We once went six months without an incident, but that was then followed by three fires in one day!”

In his coastguard work, Duncan is primarily responsibl...

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