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DRAM CAM; CAMERONS READY TO TOAST NEW VENTURE; Family of former PM's wife plan to build own whisky distillery on island estate.

Byline: Toby McDonald

David Cameron and his father-in-law may have something special to toast next time the former prime minister is on Jura.

Viscount Astor, who is married to Samantha Cameron's mother, is planning to produce his own-label whisky.

The aristocrat, whose name is William Waldorf III, wants to set up a distillery on his 20,000-acre Tarbert estate on the Hebridean isle.

He has applied to trademark Astor Whisky, Lord Astor Whisky and Glenbatrick and Corran River whiskies.

Informal talks have been held with the local community council and a formal planning application is expected to go before Argyll and Bute Council shortly.

The former PM is a keen deer stalker on the estate, which has been owned by the Astors for almost a century.

Donald Darroch, Jura community council convener, said: "A distillery has been discussed but it has not formally come to the community council yet.

"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."

Such a major expansion would have to be decided by the full Argyll and Bute planning committee.

Applications have been made to the Intellectual Property Office in the names of "Viscount Astor, The Hon William Astor, partner of the Tarbert Estate Partnership" and his son James, who is also a partner.

They asked for exclusive use of Astor Whisky and Lord Astor Whisky plus Glenbatrick Whisky and Corran River Whisky - both named after beautiful bays on the west of Jura.

Earlier this year, they jointly applied to register the name The Jura Jerky Company for "meat, venison and beef all being preserved, dried, cooked, cured, smoked, chilled and frozen". They have yet to go on sale.

No location has been identified for the distillery, which could employ about 12 people.

Unlike other distilleries which have been mothballed and then reopened, it would not have any stocks of whisky to call its own.

Normally, new distilleries buy in blended whiskies initially or produce their own gin to provide an immediate income.

Viscount Astor said in 2015 that he might have to put on a "Rob Roy-style Scottish accent" to stop the Scottish National Party launching a "Mugabe-style" raid on his family's estate in Scotland.

The former Tory minister married Annabel Astor, Samantha Cameron's mother, in 1976 after her divorce from Sir Reginald Sheffield.

Viscount Astor recalled how his American grandparents were treated with suspicion by the people of Jura when they bought the estate nearly a century ago but they "became well-liked in the community".

Tarbert estate is run by a company registered in the Bahamas, Ginge Manor House, named after the Astors' home in Oxfordshire.

There is already a distillery on Jura - which has a population of 220 - owned by Whyte & Mackay. It employs up to 15 people at peak periods.

A spokeswoman at Viscount Astor's home Ginge Manor said: "It is a partnership matter and we cannot comment further."

New Kiwi prime minister celebrates with Scotch New Zealand's new leader Jacinda Ardern is a lover of Scotch single malt Laphroaig.

The 37-year-old Labour politician became her country's youngest prime minister last week, less than three months after becoming leader of the Labour Party.

And according to her advisers, she would have celebrated with a glass of Laphroaig.

Her rise has seen her compared to other youthful world leaders such as Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron.

She has captured young voters' support with her love for DJ-ing in her spare time and drinking Scotch whisky. But Ardern, who was once a policy adviser to Tony Blair when he was prime minister, insists that she never gets drunk on the stuff.

She said in one interview: "If I got drunk on whisky, I might ruin my love of it and that would be a tragedy.

"You know, too many hangovers after whisky and you wouldn't want to drink it any more, would you?" Ardern's rise to the highest office follows a coalition deal between the New Zealand First Party and Labour.

Her top priorities include climate change and equality.

Leslie Roberts is away. She'll be back next week with another fantastic column.


cheers David Cameron and wife Samantha. Right, Astor

scenic The Isle of Jura

RISE. Jacinda Ardern
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 22, 2017
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