Jura 1984The Jura distillery, long a key sponsor at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, has now found a perhaps slightly more dubious route to literary celebrity, deciding to issue a special limited edition 1984 malt whisky, to mark 30 years since the date of George Orwell’s eponymous novel. The Jura 1984 Vintage was casked in 1984 and, according to the account in The Drinks Business, “only 1,984 individually numbered bottles of the limited edition single malt whisky, casked in 1984, will be made available worldwide,” at £750 ($1,176) per bottle.

In one respect at least, the Jura distillery’s bid for recognition is completely authentic: George Orwell did in fact write 1984 on the island of Jura, although The Scotsman curiously chooses to remark that “Orwell revelled in the isolation and wild beauty of Jura, drawing inspiration to go on and create one of his most famous works” – which would no doubt account for the total absence of wild maritime scenery or natural landscape in 1984. However, astute readers of 1984 will surely remember that the two tipples of choice in the novel are sour brown beer and gin. Nonetheless, Jura distillery has gone ahead to forge a connection, as “homage to the island’s most distinguished guest.” The Jura distillery, incidentally, is owned by the Whyte & Mackay whisky group, itself owned since last month by Philippines-based Emperador Inc.

Connoisseurs of Orwelliana might also reflect that the 2014 Scottish independence referendum bore all the hallmarks of Orwellian propagandist manipulation, as the Ministry of Truth (a.k.a. the BBC, Orwell’s original inspiration for that organization) weighed in to preserve the despotism of Westminster – but that of course would be a thoughtcrime. And with Jura 1984 Vintage-scented tears trickling down the sides of our noses, we Scots of 2014 can declare that we are proud citizens of Airstrip One. We too love Big Brother.


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail newteleread@gmail.com.