A new distillery from William Waldorf Astor III would be only the second active Scotch producer on the Isle of Jura.
The Isle of Jura off Scotland’s western coast has a population of only about 200 people, and just one producer of Scotch—the aptly named Jura distillery which has been on the island for over two centuries—as opposed to the Isle of Islay, just one ferry over, which has eight active distilleries. However, the whisky business on Jura could potentially get a bit more competitive, with a well-known name looking into producing spirits in the sparsely-populated area… William Waldorf Astor III, a member of the House of Lords and father-in-law to none other than former Prime Minister David Cameron.
According to Scotland’s Daily Record, Viscount Astor, who is married to Cameron’s wife’s mother, has begun making the necessary requests to set up a distillery on the 20,000-acre estate his family has owned on Jura for nearly a century. He’s put in applications with the Intellectual Property Office for the brand names Astor Whisky, Lord Astor Whisky and Glenbatrick and Corran River whiskies, two names which are inspired by bays located on Jura’s western shore.
According to a local official, planning is still in the extremely early stages, but he seemed receptive to the idea. “A distillery has been discussed but it has not formally come to the community council yet,” Donald Darroch, Jura community council convener, told the Daily Record. “It would be another stable source of employment. The estate/farming-type thing is on the downturn so any other type of stable employment is going to be very welcome.” That said, the Record also pointed out that such a major project would need the approval of the entire Argyll and Bute Council, an administrative region that includes Jura and dozens of other islands.
Also worth noting is that even if a distillery is approved and then subsequently built, any whisky produced on-site would still require a few years of aging before it could be released as proper Scotch. Luckily, with a name like William Waldorf Astor III, he likely doesn’t need to start turning huge profits anytime soon to stay afloat.