LEXICON: From J. & A. Mitchell to Jura

Based on my research so far there seem to be hardly any whisky words starting
with ‘J’ - and most entries on this page are actually names. More specifically the
names of people and the names of companies that were often named after them.
This is one of the most ‘meagre’ pages on Malt Madness - the other sections of
the site provide much more information, so why not check them out?


J. & A. Mitchell & Co. is the company that founded Springbank distillery.
German bottler Jack Wieber built a solid reputation in the early 2000s. 
Independent bottler James McArthur & Co. was founded in 1982.
In some rare cases whisky is ‘bottled’ in earthenware jars intead of glass
The name JBB (Greater Europe) Plc was used briefly by Whyte & Mackay.
Jean Boyer is a French independent bottler, fairly unknown abroad.
Dufftown distillery obtains it water from Jock's Well in the Conval Hills.
John Dewar & Sons Ltd. owns the brand Dewar’s and is owned by Bacardi.
John Sr.’s 4th son John Alexander Dewar Jr. became member of parliament.
John Dewar Sr. was born in Shenvail and founded a whisky empire.
The series 'John Milroy' is released by Berry Brothers, not Milroy's of Soho.
Josie's Well provides some of the water for the Glenlivet distillery.
During the 20th century a royal jubilee was an excuse for a special bottling.
The (Isle of) Jura distillery is the only one on the island by the same name.

J. & A. Mitchell & Co. Ltd.

J&A Mitchell casks

The company J. & A. Mitchell & Co. is most famous as
the owners of the Springbank distillery in Campbeltown.
However, they did not actually build the distillery.

Springbank was founded in 1828 by the Reid family,
but it was bought by brothers John and William Mitchell
in 1837 after the founders ran into financial problems.

It took another 60 years before ‘J. & W. Mitchell’ turned
into the ‘J&A’ that we know today. It has now grown into
quite an enterprise after acquiring independent bottler
Cadenhead’s and reviving the old Glengyle distillery.

The Glengyle distillery was founded around 1873 by William Mitchell - the ‘W’ from J. & W. Mitchell.
He and his brother John had a falling out and William left Springbank to build his own distillery - just a
few steps down the road from Springbank. That Glengyle distillery was closed down again in 1925.
William Mitchell probably wouldn’t approve of the descendants of his brother reaping the benefits...

James McArthur

The independent bottler James McArthur was founded in 1982, just a few years before the Scotch
whisky industry suffered its major crisis in the mid-1980s. The bottler and its Old Masters series managed
to survive the lean years and they kept bottling Scotch whiskies well into the third millennium. In 2017 their
website was still up, but the most recent bottlings on their product list were released in 2010 and 2011.
They seem to have stopped participating in fairs and tastings after March 2015.

JBB (Greater Europe)

The entity JBB (Greater Europe) Plc was one of the multiple consecutive identities that was used by
the company commonly known as Whyte & Mackay in the space of a few decades. After using the name
Whyte & Mackay Distillers Ltd. for half a century they changed it in 1991 to the Whyte & Mackay Group.
They changed that to JBB after five years in 1996 - before changing it again to Kyndal Spirits in 2001.

John Dewar Sr.

John Dewar Sr.

The patriarch of the Dewar’s whisky empire was John Dewar Sr. who
lived from 1805 to 1880. Not much is known about his life before he
founded the John Dewar & Sons whisky empire in 1846, but together
with his offspring he put his mark on the whisky industry in Scotland.

The few details of his earlier life that are known illustrate that just two
centuries ago life was much harder than it is today. John Sr. remained
unmarried until 1845 when he was 40 years old. Then he married Jane
Gow and tried to make up for lost time. They had 7 children - all sons.

Unfortunately, the first (John) and the third son (Alexander) both died
when they were still very young. But John Sr. and Jane did not give up
and in 1856 John Alexander Dewar was born. He would grow up to
become the John Dewar Jr. that would take over the family business
together with his flamboyant brother Thomas (a.k.a. “Tommy”).

The fact that both John Jr. and Thomas were made barons in the
early 20th century proves that whisky had become respectable by then.


Our ancestors learned how to make earthenware thousands of years before they were able to process
glass properly. Earthenware jars have been commonly used to store and transport wine and spirits for
centuries and even in the 1970s and 1980s you could always find a few whiskies ‘bottled’ in jars at your
average liquorist. However, the whisky inside the few jars I’ve bought myself seemed to oxidise faster
than the whisky inside the average glass bottle and during the 1990s I saw fewer and fewer jars.

John Dewar Jr.

The success of John Dewar Sr. in the whisky business spawned a Scottish dynasty with several Johns.
Possibly the most prominent John Dewar Junior was the one who grew up to be 1st Baron Forteviot.
This John Dewar Jr. (1856-1929) joined the family business and became a true whisky baron in 1917.

Jock’s Well

The source of the process water for the Dufftown distillery is by the name of its Jock’s Well in the
nearby Conval Hills. Jock’s Well is located not far from the confluence of the Dullan and Fiddich rivers.

Josie’s Well

The tiny Josie’s Well plays a large role in the marketing of Glenlivet distillery - but the original distillery
wasn’t nearly as close to the well as the current one. The water’s Ph is quite neutral; ‘harder’ than usual.

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