Taste Islay and Jura Festival

Islay has a new festival to add to the growing number of annual events and this one has a focus on local produce in the widest sense of the word. The Taste Islay and Jura Festival is all about Food, Drink and Foraging. Both islands together have ten whisky distilleries and three gin distilleries. There is Islay Wines and Islay Ales and there is great food from the sea and land such as oysters, lobster, crab and fish and lamb, beef, venison and plenty of foraged foods too.

Taste Islay and Jura Weekend

The Taste Islay and Jura Festival will be held from Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd September 2019 and is organised by the local marketing group. There are many fantastic events taking place during this weekend so make sure to visit Islay and Jura and join the fun. Below is an overview of everything taking place but please note that some of these events have to be booked in advance. For bookings visit the new festival website

Friday 20th September

On Friday head over to Jura and Lussa Gin for a special Taste of Lussa Tour. A special 1 hour session discovering how the three women of Lussa create their gin, enjoy it paired with locally sourced venison and shellfish, all with a juniper influence. Read more.....

Kilchoman Distillery Ready for the Future

Scottish Whisky is booming and the production is on the rise in almost every distillery in Scotland. The rise in production comes from both the new distilleries that have been built, or are opening soon, as well as from the existing distilleries. If you look at Islay you can see that most distilleries have increased, sometimes doubled, their production in recent years, through distilling more hours per day and/or expanding the capacity itself.

One of these distilleries which have gone through this process is Kilchoman Distillery as their expansion plans have almost come to fruition, they are currently in the commissioning phase. This means that Kilchoman Distillery theoretically will be capable of producing 480,000 liters of alcohol annually. That is a huge achievement if you compare it to how they started in 2005 as a small scale farm distillery. In an article on their website Anthony Wills writes that "the investment of £6 million amounts to almost an entirely new distillery in itself". Read more...

Islay Book Festival 2019

International bestseller Ian Rankin headlines the 2019 Islay Book Festival next week with organisers gearing up for the biggest and most high-profile edition yet. The annual event, which has been switched from its previous slot at the end of September, runs from Thursday (Aug 29) to Sunday (Sep 1).

A well-known single malt fan, Rankin will be talking about how Islay’s iconic products have featured in his life and work to leading whisky writer Dave Broom in the Filling Store at Laphroaig Distillery on Friday.
That event has already sold out but there will be another chance to hear from the award-winning master of crime fiction at the Ramsay Hall on Saturday night.
There, Rankin will be talking about the huge changes that have taken place in the 30+ years of his most famous creation, Edinburgh detective John Rebus, in the company of leading historian Sir Tom Devine.

That is followed by a screening of Dave Broom and Adam Park’s acclaimed new whisky documentary “The Amber Light”, which looks at the connection between Scotland’s culture and its national drink. Both the Ramsay Hall events are backed by Diageo, this year’s lead sponsor of the book festival. Read more...

Events during Dunyvaig Castle Excavations

During the first excavation at Dunyvaig, in 2018, a spectacular item was found, the seal of Sir John Campbell of Cawdor (c. 1576-1642), who had taken ownership of Islay in 1615. The seal had lain on a clay floor within the castle for more than 400 years, buried below mounds of rubble from the collapsed defensive wall. Once used to sign and seal charters and legal documents, it is a circular disc of lead, carrying the inscription IOAN- NIS CAMPBELL DE CALDER. [Calder was the original spelling of Cawdor]. Finding the seal was a huge reward for the entire excavation team led by Islay Heritage, a Scottish Charity, and the University of Reading. The Seal is now on display in the Museum following an evening event on 12th August when Steve Mithen presented it.

Excavation at Dunyvaig Castle will resume for its second season on Thursday 15 August 2019. Everyone is invited to join Islay Heritage and University of Reading team at 11.00am that morning to start the dig – bring a spade (or borrow one of ours) to help de-turf and hear about the excavation.

The dig will continue until 3 September, with a team of 40 staff, students and volunteers. Islay Heritage has arranged a programme of events at the dig for everyone to join in with, engaging and learning about Islay’s heritage in new ways. Read more...