News from the districts – April 8, 2022

Whisky writer Dave Broom and Glen Scotia manager Iain McAlister

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A band described as ‘a trio of Scotland’s finest jazzers’ is coming to Ardrishaig this weekend.

The Ugly Bug Ragtime Three, regular visitors to the area in pre-pandemic days, will return to Mid Argyll on Saturday April 9 as guests of Mid Argyll Arts Association.

Describing themselves as ‘the wee band with the big, big sound’, the Ugly Bugs promise a wonderful mix of fine vintage ragtime jazz from the 1920s and 30s delivered with real drive, swing and verve. Romantic ballads rub shoulders with rags and stomps by Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Waller and blues-drenched standards band up against swinging show tunes.

A treat for the heart and feet in equal measure.

As for the band members, John Burgess has played on stages and in jazz clubs all over the world and features on more than 100 recordings. Ross Milligan has appeared with, among many others, singer Ute Lemper and the BBCSO and has written music for film and TV. Andy Sharkey toured with the hit show ‘Rat Pack’, appeared regularly with clarsach player Rachel Hair and is a tutor at Strathclyde University.

Swing by Ardrishaig Public Hall on Saturday to catch the Ugly Bugs, with the show starting at 7.30pm.


A charity which offers the chance for people with autism to go sailing has announced a new Tarbert sponsor.

Duggie and Margaret MacNeill of the Corner House pub in Tarbert will be supporting Autism on the Water in this year’s Scottish Series.

The charity owns two boats and now helps around 130 people with autism each year to gain confidence through sailing.

Charity founder, Oban man Murray MacDonald, was delighted with the support and said: ‘Margaret and Duggie have been supporters of the event for many years and have been strong supporters of our charity since its inception.

‘With the event being a Tarbert-based regatta, this is a brillant opportunity for the community and our charity to promote itself within the community and to promote autism awareness and inclusion within sailing.

‘We are very grateful to Duggie, Margaret and the rest of the team for their generosity.’


One of the most colourful days in the Lochgilphead calendar is to return after a pandemic break.

Lochgilphead Celtic and Pictish Festival, organised by Lochgilphead Community Council and the Lochgilphead Phoenix Project, will take place on the town’s newly-refurbished front green on August 6 this year.

Plans are still being developed for this year’s event – indeed the venue is still to be finished – but in the past the festival has seen Vikings rampaging through Lochgilphead, traditional craft stalls, hand-to-hand combat Viking style, Celtic warrior games and the haunting sound of the carnyx, an Iron Age Celtic war horn.

Look out for more details about this year’s event soon.


Campbeltown distillery Glen Scotia has unveiled its oldest and rarest limited-edition whisky to date.

The distillery, founded in 1832, is releasing a 46-year-old single malt with only 150 individually numbered bottles available worldwide.

Glen Scotia was crowned ‘best in class’ at the World Spirits Competition 2021, then Scottish Distillery of the Year at the Scottish Whisky Awards in December last year.

In the winter of 1974, former Glen Scotia distillery manager Mike Smith and his team finished their last production of the year amid a four-year programme of investment and renovation that spelled opportunity and a great sense of optimism for the town.

However, these final years also marked the end of a special chapter, defined by the team’s tradition, care, craftsmanship and an old way of doing things.

It was these final casks that have lain quietly maturing under the care of various distillery managers until today.

The liquid of the 46-year-old was originally laid down in refill bourbon casks and gently matured for 36 years before being re-casked in first-fill bourbon casks in 2011.

It has then been finished for four years in Oloroso sherry butts, giving it an elegant and velvet-like finish.

The tropical fruits, subtle maritime nuances and creamy notes encapsulate Glen Scotia’s signature distillery character.

The whisky is presented in a handmade oak display case. Inside, an oak tile rests beneath the bottle, holding a plaque with the individual bottle number, tasting notes and the single malt’s story.

With an estimated retail price of £6,750 per 70cl bottle, the release is set to draw attention from global collectors and whisky enthusiasts looking for a slice of Glen Scotia’s artistry in whisky-making.

To mark its release, Glen Scotia has partnered with distinguished whisky writer Dave Broom to uncover the tale of this rare dram in a new short film, shot at the distillery’s dunnage with distillery manager and master distiller Iain McAlister.

Mr Broom said: ‘It is intriguing to think this 46-year-old liquid was nominated to be kept back time and time again by various hands, passing through the care of generations of different distillery managers until today.

‘Whisky is about understanding and managing change. This dram speaks of the past, but also of the future, and the respect which today’s custodians of Glen Scotia have for the whiskies in their care.’


Whisky writer Dave Broom and Glen Scotia manager Iain McAlister. NO_c13glenscotiadistillery01