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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

October 7, 2013


Five recent bottlings of Jura

I think Jura's underrated. Its restless neighbours the Islayers tend to overshadow its malts but make no mistake, there are many gems to be found 'near the little palm trees'...

Isle of Jura 9 yo 2003/2013 (46%, Douglas Laing, Provenance, cask #9305)

Isle of Jura 9 yo 2003/2013 (46%, Douglas Laing, Provenance, cask #9305) Two stars and a half Another one from this series of ultra-young malts. Should we expect more pears and porridge? Colour: pale white wine. Nose: indeed. Apples, pears, some bitterish grass and a good deal of porridge and other boiled cereals. Also bubblegum and liquorice allsorts as well as very distant whiffs of coal smoke. Near-newmake, but I find this pleasant. Mouth: it's almost barley eau-de-vie, with a good fruitiness and a little pepper from the oak. All that works pretty well, it's a good distillate. Simple malty pleasures... Finish: not that short, now with touches of lemon. Sweet barley and pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: good baby malt whisky, a kind of vodka with more depth and body. Very distillery-driven, obviously. SGP:631 - 79 points.

Jura 18 yo 1995/2013 (52.8%, The First Editions, refill hogshead, 288 bottles)

Jura 18 yo 1995/2013 (52.8%, The First Editions, refill hogshead, 288 bottles) Four stars and a half I already had a sip of this new baby at Whisky & More Lausanne and loved it. Colour: white wine. Nose: very similar to the 2003 but it's much more mature, obviously. It's got this old-Highlands profile that's so loveable, with a little soot and smoke beyond the grassy fruitiness, then many herbs and some high-end green tea. Fresh mint, also some warm brioche and bread. Pretty complex! With water: bread and porridge coming through. After all, this is distilled grain ;-). Baker's yeast, leaven... It's all very natural. Mouth (neat): lovely arrival, wonderfully fruity, with also some wax and peppercorns. A lot happening, I especially like the big notes of oranges, green apples and quinces, as well as the saltiness that plays with your tongue. Wonderful body! With water: excellent, pure barley, salted caramel (Werther's) and hazelnut liqueur. Finish: long, grassier. Liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: absolutely excellent 'eau-de-vie d'orge'. SGP:541 - 89 points.

Jura 23 yo 1989/2013 'Heavily Peated' (56.5%, Signatory Vintage, bourbon barrel, casks #30706+30709, 211 bottles)

Jura 23 yo 1989/2013 'Heavily Peated' (56.5%, Signatory Vintage, bourbon barrel, casks #30706+30709, 211 bottles) Four stars I don't think Jura used to make peated malt in those years but I may be mistaken. Now, quite a few ex-Islay casks used to be re-filled at Jura and could impart some pretty heavy smoky/peaty tones to the gentler Jura. These two casks may have been some of these. Colour: straw. Nose: it's not quite 'heavily' peated in my opinion, but peated it is. So yes, peat smoke, then a little wet cardboard, newspapers, soot, cider apples and just a few strawberries that do 'lift' the whole. Maybe also peaches? There's something funnily Ardmore-ish. With water: some camphor and eucalyptus, then wee notes of Swiss cheese. Mouth (neat): ah yes, it's really peaty. There could be a good 30 litres of Laphroaig in this vatting since it's quite medicinal as well as very spicy. A feeling of black pepper and mercurochrome, then lemon and grapefruit. This should be very tricky at any blind tasting session! With water: Jura's big barleyness is more obvious and manages to tame the peaty components. Maybe a little ink. Finish: long and much grassier, almost astringent. Loses one or two points here. Comments: a funny beast. I really liked it despite the harder finish. SGP:364 - 86 points.

Jura 30 yo 'Camas an Staca' (44%, OB, 2,500 bottles, 2013)

Jura 30 yo 'Camas an Staca' (44%, OB, 2,500 bottles, 2013) Five stars This is the brand new official. Colour: amber. Nose: shy and very complex after the big ones. You have to let it unfold, but then this baby's very rewarding, all around 'old leather', precious wood, herbal teas and tobacco. Just a few examples: rosehip tea, sandalwood, orange liqueur, mead, milk chocolate, old-style Camel cigarettes and cough syrup. Tends do become a little more herbal over time, with chamomile, hay, green cigars... It's all very complex. Mouth: excellent! Starts salty and tobacco-like, maybe just a notch too dry, but the development is quite splendid, with some black tea, more tobacco, walnuts, maybe a little mustard and curry, some slightly acidic coffee, touches of salted liquorice, orange blossom water, more salt... Finish: quite long and even saltier. As salty as the best manzanillas! More smoke in the aftertaste. Smoked salmon, tobacco, walnut liqueur. Comments: and it's not even that 'expensive'. Well, it is at +/-500 Euros, but W&M seem to have shown restraint here. I find this baby excellent. SGP:462 - 91 points.

Isle of Jura 35 yo 1976/2012 (51.3%, Jack Wiebers, Gentle Noses, cask #60006, 120 bottles)

Isle of Jura 35 yo 1976/2012 (51.3%, Jack Wiebers, Gentle Noses, cask #60006, 120 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: it's grassier, maltier and less sherried than the new official. Above all, it's much more medicinal. Camphor, eucalyptus, Kools (menthol cigarettes - but you knew that) and a pack of salmiak. After fifteen minutes, it's almost pure cough syrup. With water: more wood, as often, and more menthol as well. Maybe cannabis? Kumquats, orange liqueurs, baklavas... Mouth (neat): heavy and wonderful. Maybe a notch too extractive but what it has extracted is great, all around menthol and affiliated flavours. Pinesap, salmiak, citrons, Indian green mint sauce, resins... With water: careful with water! It could become a little drying. Finish: the oranges fight back, for a long time. After Eight thin mints. Now, the aftertaste's a little too dry for my taste. Comments: really, you'd think they've added cannabis to this cask. Nah, seriously, this is a good example of an excellent heavily mentholated malt whisky. Good 'heavy' wood. SGP:372 - 89 points.

(with thanks to Herbert)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Jura I've tasted so far







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