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

September 23, 2019


A suitcase of Jura

I don’t think the chatting whisky circles are always fair with Jura a.k.a. Isle of Jura. It’s true that the whisky’s sometimes pretty singular, that the shape of the official bottles can be seen as a little weird, and that there’s been some, say, marketing and communications errancies in the recent past. But I say those are not sufficient reasons to disregard Jura, and I remember very vividly quite a few stunners bearing that name. Let’s see what we’ll find today…

Jura 10 yo (40%, OB, +/-2018)

Jura 10 yo (40%, OB, +/-2018) Three stars and a half
I last tried the little 10 in 2012 (tsk tsk) and had rather liked it (WF 84!) Now there was also a 10 ‘Origin’ that was a little humbler in my book, but I can’t remember the main differences. Possibly a matter of oak, as always since most distillers have become lumberjacks. Colour: gold. Nose: a bit of sweet mustard and leather blended with some dry white wine, with a few metallic touches, that’s very Jura in my book. Some soot as well, pepper, fino sherry, dry nuts… Singular and nice, as expected. Mouth: really very dry, very mustardy, leathery, with some tobacco and some strong tea. Some alt too, plus notes of oloroso and drying oak. More black tea, and a little salt. Finish: short and drying, with some smokiness in the aftertaste. Comments: I think it's cool that they would keep their style with this expression, and not bury their unusual spirit under tons of oaks of all provenances and sorts. I like this fino-y saltiness rather a lot too.
SGP:362 - 83 points.

Jura ‘The Sound’ (42.5%, OB, +/-2018)

Jura ‘The Sound’ (42.5%, OB, +/-2018) Two stars
Another LOL bottling, that is to say an NAS finished in PX. But not just any PX, some 15 years old PX! Now I do not know whether they just took casks and seasoned them with that middle-aged PX for a few months, or if those casks had sheltered PX for 15 years. Seriously, I doubt it’s the latter ;-). Colour: gold. Nose: I thought the 10 was much more interesting, here the spirit starts to get buried under oak spices and fig jam. Nothing against that, naturally, but we’re losing our beloved singularities. Could be other malts, not only Jura. Mouth: well, not really. It’s got some sour wood and some weirdish peppery notes, as well as notes of stale mead, if I may. Some raisins too. Nah, it’s not that bad, but I don’t find this concoction very convincing. Finish: medium, very drying, bitter and sour. Burnt caramel. How to avoid a finish? Have a glass of water as soon as possible! Comments: the 10, anytime.
SGP:461 - 70 points.

Jura 12 yo 2006/2018 (48.4%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, hogshead, cask # 1 12966, 357 bottles)

Jura 12 yo 2006/2018 (48.4%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, hogshead, cask # 1 12966, 357 bottles) Three stars
In theory, this should be closer to the spirit. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: plum eau-de-vie, green apples, soot, a touch of pomegranate, and this mineral dust that’s sometimes to be found in Jura. Clean, a little minimalist perhaps? Mouth: yeah, there, distillery character. Bags of grass, pepper, mustard, and even wasabi (not bags though). With some bitter oranges on top of this bone-dry style. Finish: medium, really very peppery. Notes of salted grapefruits in the aftertaste. Yep. Comments: some very natural Jura. I liked the official 10 a little better, but it’s got some knuckle, as we say in French. And it killed the Sound.
SGP:361 - 81 points.

Older please… Oh and one question, do we definitely drop the name ‘Isle of Jura’?

Jura 25 yo 1992/2018 (48.6%, The First Editions, refill hogshead, cask # 12459, 267 bottles)

Jura 25 yo 1992/2018 (48.6%, The First Editions, refill hogshead, cask # 12459, 267 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: white wine. Nose: in the style of the 12 at first, but of course, there’s more complexity, here more herbs and teas, for instance. Fresh mint, chalk, linseed oil, thyme, perhaps a little mercurochrome, cigarette tobacco, old ointments… To be honest, I find this nose rather beautiful, with echoes of… Ben Nevis? Mouth: I think we have a winner. Wonderful mustardy notes over pu-ehr tea, tobacco, gentian cordial (like Suze but better than Suze), and bitter oranges. In the background, the expected peppers and a touch of salt that’s already there. Finish: rather long, with that salt indeed, leather and tobacco, pepper, English mustard, pepper and a touch of cinnamon. Citrus in the aftertaste, that’s the best signature there is. Comments: excellent, one of the best recent Juras if you ask me.
SGP:362 - 88 points.

A last one for the road…

Isle of Jura 1976 (57.5%, OB for Harleyford Manor, 75cl, +/-1990?)

Isle of Jura 1976 (57.5%, OB for Harleyford Manor, 75cl, +/-1990?) Four stars
Harleyford Manor seems to be a country house in Buckinghamshire. Colour: white wine. Nose: yeah, there, this is older Jura, more metallic, almost feinty, with notes of yogurt, sourdough, ammonia, fern, branches, old walnuts, raw grassy brandy (not-destemmed marc de Bourgogne), old tools lying in an old garage (in that old manor, perhaps)… With water: something died in the barrel, perhaps. Mice? Also embrocations, bandages, chalks, oranges, kumquats… Well, in truth, it really improves a lot once reduced, becoming almost civilised. Mouth (neat): oh yeah, I remember. Plastics,  sour fruits, glue, acetone, plaster, very bitter oranges. With water: love it now! It’ whacky and weird, but it’s plain straightforward Jura, very idiosyncratic, amusing, and astonishing. Mustard, spinach and brussels sprouts, how does that sound for a soup? I mean, for a whisky? Finish: long, on more plastic, walnuts, and sea salt. Comments: a make that’s been disconcerting generations of whisky lovers. Well not quite before 1963, obviously, although an older distillery used to exist long before the current Jura was built.
SGP:472 - 87 points.

(thank you Ronald!)

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