Jura Whisky is always at the heart of it’s community, organising events, opening it’s distillery doors to the public, having invested in writing talent and producing much-discussed limited edition whiskies.

Graham Logan, Distillery Manager for the Jura Distillery, spoke to The Fountain about their new limited edition Jura Tastival 2017, the festival itself, Tastival and what more we can expect from the distillery.

TF: What is Tastival?

Tastival is Jura’s annual whisky hosted at distillery’s island home, the fun event invites whisky fans to explore new and exciting ways to experience single malt whisky. Each year, we throw open the doors to our distillery to put on a series of events, with the aim to uncover the tastes that can be found in our whiskies. This year’s event on 1st June is no different.

TF: How long has it been running for now? Can you give a bit of history surrounding the busiest day for Jura?

Tastival is now in its fourth year. The Feis Ile Festival of Music and Malt has been a long established annual celebration on Islay, and traditionally, all of the distilleries on the island get involved with their own schedule of events for guests, who often come from far afield.

We love the chance to meet with Jura fans from around the world so, of course, we wanted to get involved. Our distillery is very accessible from Islay – it’s just a five minute journey on the passenger ferry to Jura. In order to allow as many people over as possible, each year we put on a free shuttle bus and foot passenger ferry service, which runs regularly throughout the day.

As Tastival is a celebration of taste, we’ve worked with plenty of exciting partners throughout the years, to help uncover the different sides of Jura through a series of unique taste experiences. With the Jura range at the centre of each event, previous Tastival’s have seen us team up with brewers including Drygate and Fyne Ales to create a beer specially brewed to pair with the Tastival limited edition whisky; invited various live artists to illustrate tasting notes of our peated and unpeated whiskies; and worked with exciting food partners including Dram & Smoke, and London pop up Jimmy’s to create a special dining experience inspired by our whiskies.

It’s been a lot of fun and we always try to bring something new to the table, to keep things interesting for everyone involved!

TF: What can we look forward to this year with Tastival? What does your programme have in store?

This year will have very much a fete like feel – we’ll have live music from Scots Trad legends, RURA, as well as Coaltown Daisies and Doc Livingstone, and it will also be your first opportunity to try and buy this year’s Limited Edition Jura Tastival 2017 expression. We’ve even put on a later ferry at 9:30pm so that people can stay longer to explore the island more, and enjoy dinner at the Jura Hotel. Don’t forget to book on to this at the box office though!

In addition to our free still house tours, we have a series of unique sessions that allow our guests behind the scenes access, the chance to mingle with the locals and, of course, sample our range of whiskies.

The Jura Jetty offers visitors the chance to arrive in style, with a dram of Turas Mara to be enjoyed as it was intended to be – with the sea spray in your face. The Jura Long Table offers our visitors the chance to feel like a local by dining with the Diurachs (Jura’s community), and the All Terrain Whisky Tasting will take guests beyond Craighouse to explore the island and discover how it inspired our various whiskies.

Our Whisky 101 session, introduced by Richard Paterson and hosted by our very own Gregg Glass our new Blender & Whisky Maker, will smash traditional whisky perceptions – guests will journey through a taste experience, with the chance to sample Jura in a number of specially prepared states, from whisky bubbles to sherbet, and even cold brew coffee.

Finally, I’ll be hosting the Single Malt Masterclass, offering guests the chance to become a distiller for the day with some exclusive on the job experience. There are actually still some tickets for the various sessions available to buy online here.

TF: And did I hear right that you have distilled a special edition whisky for the festival?

Absolutely. Every year we celebrate Tastival with a limited edition bottling, and Jura Tastival 2017 is the first limited edition that I’ve overseen as Distillery Manager. It’s one that I’m very proud of, and I’m looking forward to unveiling it on 1st June.

It’s a Non Chill-Filtered, cask strength expression, which marries some of Jura’s finest aged spirits. It’s enhanced in both first fill American White Oak ex-bourbon barrels and hand-selected Graham’s Port Pipes sourced from Portugal’s lush Douro Valley.

As ever with Jura, the taste is very much open to the individual’s interpretation, but I get notes of chewy liquorice, black forest fruits and creamy white chocolate on the nose, and orange zest, walnut cake, glazed pineapple and Crème De Cassis on the aftertaste.

TF: There has also been much activity surrounding Jura Whisky over recent years with the 1984 and Jura Unbound, which saw a movement towards an investment in writing. What is on the cards for Jura in the coming future?

There’s a lot of exciting things in the works for Jura in the coming year, but I can’t say too much at the moment. What I can say is that it’s been a whirlwind first year as Distillery Manager, and there’s plenty more of that to come for me – it’s been a joy to work at the helm of the Jura Distillery, having been working here for more than 25 years. We’re looking forward to sharing this with our customers far and wide – all will be revealed soon.

Tastival is on Thursday 1st June. For more on Tastival and the Jura Distillery click here.