In a recent announcement, William Waldorf Astor III, better known as David Cameron’s father-in-law and Samantha Cameron’s mother Viscountess Annabel Astor’s second husband, has approached the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and the Argyle (now Argyll) and Bute Council to set up a distillery in the Isle of Jura.
On August 29 and September 1, Viscount Astor submitted applications with the IP office, to register brand names, including Astor Whisky, Lord Astor Whisky, Glenbatrick Whisky, and Corran River Whisky. He is expected to present a formal planning proposal to the Scottish Council. In a statement, the Council said that the new distillery had the potential to increase employment opportunities in the Hebridean isle, which is home to about 200 people.
Even though the exact location of the distillery is yet to be revealed, sources say it could be in the Tarbert Estate, located north of the Corran River. The 20,000-acre property is registered under the Ginge Manor Estates Ltd., which is based in the Bahamas. Viscount Astor is reported to be a beneficiary in the estate.
A ferry ride away from the Scottish west coast, the Isle of Jura has been known among the liquor circles for having a single establishment that manufactures whisky, the Jura Distillery, run by Whyte and Mackay. It has a rich history spanning 200 years, where it has produced some notable single malt scotches, like the 1984 The Famous George Orwell 30-year old. The distillery was purchased by the Alliance Global Group three years ago.
Viscount Astor’s planned distillery will become the island’s second such business venture. Whisky although is not the only thing on the aristocrat’s plate. Together with his financier son, James, he will also be venturing into venison jerky manufacturing, under the trademark Jura Jerky Company.
As the value for single malts and rare whiskies rise, opening distilleries are becoming a profitable long-term investment option. It is no wonder then that the royalty is delving into it, especially in the Scottish isles.