Jessica’s father’s family has farmed at Persabus, on the North East coast of Islay for more than 100 years. For her 21st birthday last year she was given four Hebridean sheep, who have lambed this year to double her flock. The call of ‘Ladies!’ brings them running across the field to eat from her hand. She thinks there is serious potential in building up rare breeds, though, and will take the ladies away this year to show them at the mid-Argyll show.
Having done a week’s work experience at Bruichladdich while at Islay High School, Jessica May Fletcher has now worked for us for four summers in the Laddieshop, when she’s home from studying Dietetics at university. Bruichladdich has offered opportunities to generations of young Ileachs in this fashion – our Head Distiller, Head Warehouseman, Brand Academy Host and many of the permanent team began their careers in whisky as seasonal staff here. She notices the energy around the distillery and how the staff numbers have grown since 2012, ‘It’s just bubbly! Everyone’s up for a laugh. We’ve got loads of new products and it’s busier with visitors every year.’
She regards freedom as the defining feature of her growing up on Islay. Her mum runs a cafe and pottery at the farm, and her own creativity is expressed in writing songs on her guitar, which number, ‘Hundreds! I’ve been writing since I was fifteen.’ She still likes hacking and trekking on her horse Hansel, who at 23 years old is her senior, but at 15 hands 2 inches, is a little shorter. He may not be as smart either, unless he was recently awarded a first class honours degree…
Cask 22, Jess’ valinch, is full-term Port matured, distilled in 2003, unpeated like all our Bruichladdich range, 59.5% vol. Available only from Islay while stock lasts.