The famous Turnbull usquebae (from the Gaelic uisge beatha - water of life) more commonly known as whisky is back in production. John Ross Turnbull Irvine has recently taken over and merged the running of his grandfather’s (John Fisher Turnbull) business James Turnbull Exports Ltd, proprietors of Turnbull’s whisky, with his own export business JR Exports. In doing so, he is able to preserve the Turnbull’s brand and continue producing quality blended whiskies from their pull of secret family recipes.
Ross is the first grandson to John Fisher Turnbull, TCA Founder. Ross says that the explanation as to the origin of the Turnbull’s blend begins with the story of William Rule…a story we should all already know. William Rule’s descendent, James Turnbull of Rule-water, founded The House of Turnbull in 1855 by establishing a traditional business
of wines and spirits in his home town of Hawick. Few good blends of whisky were available at the time and James Turnbull commenced his first experimental blends of whisky among which he perfected a unique blend of fine colour and aroma with a smooth
very acceptable flavour. This blend was the forerunner of today’s TURNBULL’S Superior Scotch Whisky, the formula for which is a closely guarded secret.
Ross, representing the sixth generation of whisky blenders within the Turnbull tradition, says, “Drawing from over a hundred and fifty years experience in blending whisky, I am confident the eight year old celebrated blend within the bottle baring our crest is one of the choicest whiskies to have been produced by TURNBULL’S.” Established in 1855, James
Turnbull was a small family grocer, wine and spirit merchant based in Hawick. The family run business continued to grow and expand over four generations until more than a hundred years later it was incorporated by the late John Fisher Turnbull. At this point, the company had an extensive product range particularly in relation to whisky blends. Such
blends included ‘Turnbull’s London Blend’, ‘Club’ blend, and the famous ‘Teviotdale’ blend.
The company had also begun to establish strong trading links abroad, with particular interest in tapping into the lucrative spirit markets of Japan and Australia. However in 1982, the company suffered a major set back with the death of John Turnbull. After John’s death, the company was scaled back to the point where it continued solely in the form of
personalized labels. This carried on until the turn of the century when the company was liquidated and the business and its long history of whisky blending was almost lost forever as Myra Turnbull, widow to the late John Turnbull, no longer had the time or energy to commit to such a specialized service.
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