The approach to Islay by sea is one of anticipation as you travel up the Islay Sound to tiny Port Askaig. Next to the where the ferry docks from the main land you will find a much smaller vessel - the Jura ferry. You can sign up to become an honorary Duirach (that is citizen of Jura) which gives you a free ferry pass not to mention monthly free dram in the local hotel.

The distillery tour is also free (but needs to be booked in advance). We were lead around by shop manager Sue. The distillery is fairly noisy, and consequentially it is difficult to hear some of the information. We missed the start of the tour due to an excellent lunch in the nearby hotel.
Lovely lady and a mash tun
All of the malt comes from the Inverness maltings. The grist is mashed in a steel mash tun, this differs from distillery to distillery.
wash and spirit stills
There are two wash and two spirit stills which produce the whisky from 8 wash-backs (fermenters). The whisky is then filled into bourbon barrels. It can produce up to 2.5million litres a year. No pictures allowed in the still house (alcohol vapours apparently) but I'm allowed to take one through the open doorway.

The four regular expressions
The tour seems to be over before its started and we end up in the shop where we remain for a good while sampling various drams.  Someone seems to have a lot of money, buying the most expensive bottle in the shop (it transpires he already has one and wanted a pair).

New make
There are four expressions in the core range. The regular 10 y/o, the 16 y/o Duirach's own, the lightly peated Superstition and the heavily peated prophecy. I was lucky enough to try them side by side in the Jura hotel.

The regular expression is widely available and light gold in colour. An aroma of apricots with some sweetness and plenty of fire.

The superstition is a tad darker with some phenols at the back of the palate and a smooth finish.

Prophecy focussed too much on peat for my liking. Darkest amber and quite oily.

Diurach's Own 16 y/o
The 16 y/o was my pick of the bunch so decided to buy some to take home with me. I'll taste it now:
It pours a burnished gold with a spicy curacao orange nose with an undercurrent of iodine and brine. Initially tingly on the tongue it progresses through mushroomy cheese rind and finishes with rich heather honey with a lingering sweetness. Its a more refined version of the 10y/o and one I'll certainly enjoying every dram of.


  1. Like Jura. Good, solid whisky. Bit of a drive for my free dram if I sign up to be an honorary Duirach though methinks...

  2. yeah but tie it in with a trip to islay...details to follow ;)

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