THE ILEACH :: THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER FOR ISLAY + JURA

Excerpts from issue 49/16 21 May 2022

scotch malt whisky association

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Portintruan distillery
portintruan distillery

After much speculation by Islay residents, Elixir Distillers has confirmed that their new Islay distillery will be called 'Portintruan'.
Currently under construction near Port Ellen village, Portintruan, (pronounced Port-nah-truan), takes its name from the farm estate on which the distillery is located and means 'place of the stream'.
Co-owner Sukhinder Singh told the Ileach, "Elixir Distillers has always taken a flavour-led approach and this will also be the Portintruan philosophy. We will be utilising a number of old-style production techniques which we believe will accentuate the depth and character of the spirit. A key part of the process will be using malt predominantly from our own, on-site, floor maltings, and we will be using direct-fired wash stills for the distillation. We plan to work with different phenol levels across the range, which will all have their own specific flavour profiles."
Portintruan will combine old-style production techniques with modern technology to improve process, quality and sustainability, the latter being one of the most important factors in Portintruan's plans.
Distillery Manager Georgie Crawford said, "Working within what is currently possible on Islay, we want to be as green and as responsible as we can. We are talking to Islay Energy Trust, our fellow distillers on the island and suppliers, to ensure we take all opportunities to be environmentally sound. We will use the latest technology to implement a heat loop for our water usage, to ensure the maximum amount is recycled and re-used, with the heat recovered for other processes. We're also using a bio-diesel for our direct-fired stills, the cleanest fuel we can currently source, and we're building the distillery so that it can use hydrogen power once that becomes available."
Portintruan will also be adding an on-site experimental distillery. This will enable the team to produce not only different Scotch whisky styles, but also rum. Plans for the distillery site also include 14 houses for Islay families working at the distillery, a visitor centre, a bar and restaurant, a tasting room bothy overlooking the sea, and a multi-purpose educational facility which will serve as a base for an apprentice programme to train the next generation of distillers.
Elixir Distillers will be setting up two cabins on the distillery site to welcome Fèis Ìle enthusiasts wishing to see Portintruan in the earliest stages of its development.
Visitors will be able to peruse the distillery plans, look out over the site of the distillery and chat with members of Elixir Distillers staff over a dram or two of one of their Islay whiskies.
Elixir Distillers will also be running a number of tastings and events across Islay during the festival.
Work on the site is well underway, with ground works complete and foundations about to commence, followed by the steel work. Distilling is expected to commence in early 2024.
Georgie also told the Ileach that they have a few spaces left on their organised walks for Ileach readers, with a special 'Islay Residents Concession'. All the money from the walks is going to the Islay High School Sweden Expedition Fund.
These are being held daily at 2pm from Monday 30 May until Friday 3 June.
Join Niall Colthart and Georgie Crawford for a leisurely stroll around the hills behind the site to learn about the history of the area. The experience will take around 90mins, depending on the pace of the group. Georgie advises wellies or walking boots and suitable outdoor clothing.
If you're keen to join, please assemble at the Elixir Distillers site cabins, just along from Port Ellen primary school.

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In this week's issue:

Fèis to face for 2022, Portintruan Distillery, Local election results, CalMac's proposed charges cause consternation, Port Ellen playpark funding boost, The future of Islay's churches, Ella's dancing success, Festival update, Ukrainian whisky, The end for Julie's Roots and Fruits, War Graves Week on Islay, Charity comedy event soon, Charlene Busalli looks at May's new books, New nursery at Port Charlotte Primary, Bowmore Primary's winners, Argyll Advice Centre celebrates 20 years, Kilchoman Golf Open report, Islay Rugby's recent games.

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No more Roots and Fruits

Julie's Roots and Fruits recently announced that they were discontinuing their local Islay service. The Ileach asked Julie Kennedy what the reasons were behind this unfortunate decision.
"When I started Roots and Fruits, I aimed to provide the highest possible quality of fruit and veg. That's why all my products were from Class A growers.
"Bigger and fresher fruit and veg lasted so much longer than shop bought. It also allowed my elderly customers to select exactly what they needed without waste. For example, one carrot, maybe two small onions or half a turnip, delivering orders to their homes each week.
"As the months went on, Brexit hit, which had a massive impact on prices, but we continued as a result of the personal relationships weĠd achieved, meeting the needs of many, especially through Covid.
"We worked so hard to ensure we got to those in need, and frequently slept in the vans before going into the fruit market in the early hours, with all hotels closed to other than NHS staff.
"As the months went on, produce prices rose and rose and then diesel did the same. Within the current economic climate, state of the world, a lack of drivers and an inability to get certain items, things were looking grim at the market.
"However, I refused to drop the standard of fruit and veg which I was known for providing, but after many weeks, due to ridiculous price rises, I was effectively supplying at cost, not wishing them to suffer.
"Unfortunately, these factors soon started to show in the profits. And with diesel costs continuing to rise and with stock becoming more expensive, I have decided to take a step back.
"It was never all about the takings. I enjoyed serving the community and met some wonderful people, which really allowed me to get to know the island, having only lived here since 2018. We still have all the equipment: large walk-in chills, storage sheds, vans etc., so maybe one day, if the economy improves, I'm sure I'd get my wonderful customer-base back, as I've had so many lovely calls and messages saying how grateful many were for the service."

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Whisky for Ukraine
ukraine whisky

Ukrainian, Alex Ostrovskyy, became involved with the world of whisky as a hobby in 2006, but as is frequently the case, it became work from 2012 and, of necessity and love for his home country, it is now a charity aid project to help Ukraine.
Alex is currently in Ukraine's beleaguered capital Kyiv, so on whisky festival stands across the world, his whiskies are presented by his wife, her sister and Alex's friends from Norway.
Alex told the Ileach, "In the middle of March, I decided to make bottlings which tell the real story about what is going on in Ukraine, from Ukrainians, not from the news, and make fundraising to support the army and regular people."
His two current releases consist of GunpowderUA, a peaty Loch Lomond malt. Alex said, "It's smoky and peaty, very similar to gunpowder. This release is to support the Ukrainian army."
His second release is entitled ResistanceUA. This is about the real story of a man who climbed on a Russian armoured personnel carrier with the Ukrainian flag in occupied Kherson.
"Stories like this have been repeated in many cities in the south of the country. Ukrainian people came to the main squares of already occupied cities with signs and slogans - Occupants, Go Home!"
These two whiskies were first presented at the recent whisky fair in Limburg, Germany and their appearance at the Fèis Ìle 'Indie Day' (independent bottlers) at the Ramsay Hall, Port Ellen on Monday 30 May, will be only their second appearance on the international whisky stage. On Islay, presentation is being made by DramFool.
Alex said he was very grateful to Colin Fraser of Dramfool and Islay's Jim McEwan who he first met in Kyiv.
And congratulations are due to staff from Bruichladdich Distillery successfully climbed the Paps of Jura recently in an effort to raise funds for Ukrainian charity.

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This is Islay
this is islay podcast

A monthly podcast featuring individuals, personalities and features of Islay and Jura. Listen now at https://anchor.fm/thisisislay

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Whisky Ventures bicycle ride

brian palmer writes:
On Thursday 12 May, Rob Richardson left home to visit Bladnoch Distillery in Dumfries and Galloway, the first port of call on his Whisky Ventures Ride, during which he expects to visit each and every distillery in Scotland, ending at Shetland's Saxa Vord Distillery in the far north.
Benefiting from his extensive bike-packing trip will be Scotland's Air Ambulance Charity and 'Cash for Kids'. Rob told the Ileach, "Alongside the ride itself, my hope is that every distillery I visit along the way, will also donate at least one bottle of whisky to a central event collection, creating a unique representation of Scottish whisky. This collection is then to be auctioned or raffled after the event, further raising funds in aid of the charities."
Not unnaturally, Rob's Whisky Ventures Ride will visit Islay, coincidentally, just at the beginning of this year's Fèis Ìle, an excellent reason to fit in a local bike ride.
Any local or visiting cyclists are welcome to join Rob and I at Ardbeg Distillery at 9am on Friday 27 May for a 9:30 grand départ, riding via Lagavulin, Laphroaig, across the island to Bowmore, before visiting Bruichladdich and onto the final destination for the day, Kilchoman Distillery.
If you fancy joining in, or need more information, contact Rob on whiskyventures@hotmail.com or brian@ileach.co.uk
For those who can't join in the fun, but might wish to donate towards Rob's charitable venture, go to the Whisky Ventures website www.whiskyventures.co.uk

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NEXT ISSUE ON SALE, Saturday 4 June 2022

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