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

January 19, 2019





Angus's Corner
From our casual Scottish correspondent
and guest taster Angus MacRaild
Sampling Jura
We don’t really score cask samples on Whiskyfun, but for wee, one off nuggets of history such as these four Jura, I think exceptions can be made. These bottles were acquired recently at auction by our great friend Phil Thompson of Dornoch Distillery. They came from the estate of a Mr Anthony Riley-Smith, a Yorkshire brewer who was also an estate owner on the Isle of Jura. He was one of those responsible for the restarting of Jura distillery in 1963 after a very long period of closure since 1901.


Jura New Make Spirit. ‘Period 1. May 1963’ Jura New Make Spirit. ‘Period 1. May 1963’
Extremely cool that we could sample some of the very first new make spirit to run from Jura’s new stills in 1963. Colour: white. Nose: we’re a long way from most contemporary new makes, but of course time and air will also have played a role here. I’m reminded of things like asparagus eau de vie, bouillon, fennel, fungus, leaf mulch, caraway, long-matured champagne, hummus and wild garlic. Extremely earthy, mulchy, tertiary and organic in style. Hints of funny things like crayons, papyrus paper, old mead and emulsion paint. With a tiny drop of water... interestingly this goes immediately opaque once water is added, probably suggesting this is not the most technically pure of new makes. Gets funkier and earthier still, more towards shoe polish, mineral oils, some menthol oils, canvas and something like pine air freshener. Hugely entertaining and kind of labyrinthian.


Mouth: immensely fatty, greasy and oily. Seriously farmy but also with strangely coastal things like molluscs and grilled limpets. More clean vegetal aspects along with some meaty, beef stock notes. Shoe polish, gravel, tar, limestone - totally whacky but also kind of brilliant. The alcohol is still pretty impressive! Again with a tiny drizzle of water... moving further towards putty, earth, elastoplasts, lemon jelly, mint, pine liqueur, ointments, mushroom powder and umami paste. Kind of cough syrupy and with this pervasive petrichor character. Really starts to become rather animalistic with these notes of stables and horse sweat. It also displays a definite feinty edge, although it’s not overwhelming. Finish: medium-long and rather leathery and still extremely fatty, organic, slightly composty and again pretty mushroomy and fungal. Sounds pretty awful but it really isn’t. Comments: Probably rather dangerous to drink a lot of, and certainly this is a funky, sweaty, meaty, vegetal and rather medicinal distillate. Totally fascinating to try, what it reminds me most of is a good eau de vie that has been matured in a demijohn for a long time so that you really start to feel the more organic and oxidative complexities. Would be fascinating if some smaller distillers just put some of their new make into glass for a couple of decades to observe its evolution in such a way. What this also brings to mind is how old distillers would often say good new make shouldn’t necessarily be drinkable straight away, but rather an uglier, more rough and ready profile would mature better. After tasting this, and remembering an old 1960 Balblair new make as well, you can begin to really understand this. This is new make that certainly bristles with a sense of potential. Given how great many of the 60s Juras were when mature it’s not surprising.
SGP: 372 - no score.




Jura 1964/1972 (cask #99, sherry)
Colour: deep amber. Nose: the initial aroma is surprisingly suggestive of an old Karuizawa with these big notes of spiced firecrackers, strawberry tobacco, incense and ground black pepper. There’s also fresh espresso, morello cherries, black tea, cough medicine and a very earthy and mushroomy streak running through it ( rather reminiscent of the mushroomy aspects in the new make). You can also add coal scuttles, mint leaf and, with a couple of minutes breathing, things like freshly starched linen, freeze dried raspberries, cranberry and some rather salty aged Madeira. An immense sense of power but also really excellent! With water: now we’re really on camphor, stewed raisins, corned beef, lapsang souchong and mixed salted nuts. More black pepper and drops of rosewater. Mouth: a surprisingly relaxed delivery although it’s still very much on incense, pot pourri, dried lavender, mixed dried herbs, wasabi, soy sauce, lime oils and various fruit liqueurs. Some spiced beef stock, aged rums, fruity red chilli and pomegranate molasses. Tobacco leaf, damp earth and old wine cellars. Superb complexity and power! With water: red and dark fruits, more liqueurish, sweeter, easier, more herbal, earthier and more sooty and rooty. A curious mix of things like of limoncello and lamb stock. Pretty excellent all round really! Finish: long, superbly taut, leathery, salty, nutty, herbal, lots of aniseed and extremely resinous with some big, slow-fading rancio notes. Comments: I’d be curious to know if Jura and Karuizawa ever shared a sherry cask supplier, there’s really something reminiscent of that style going on here. Oh, and in case I didn’t mention, totally superb, punchy, complex old school sherried malt whisky.
SGP: 671 - 92 points.


Jura 1964/1973 (cask #97, sherry)
Colour: deep amber. Nose: we’re in very similar territories, only this one is slightly straighter and more chiselled with a gently austere concrete aspect at first. Opens up with lemon and orange peel, bergamot, heather, pot pourri, light notes of Moroccan spices and then things like dates, dark fruit cake, tobacco leaf, fir liqueur and cheery sweets. Some red liquorice, ripe melon and paprika. Lovely, if a little more elusive than cask 97. With water: dry earth, pear eau de vie, black pepper, tiny glimpses of tropical fruits and another elusive wee melon note. Also chamomile and chilli pepper. Mouth: the inversion of the first one, here the power is on full blast on the palate whereas it was the nose which was a tad more gentle. This is a big hodgepodge of lime, chilli, damp earth, mushrooms, black coffee, sultanas, spice cake, cinnamon, cloves and rosewater. Also cherry liqueur, white truffle, lemon oils, throat sweets and tar resin. A big dollop of meat stock and toasted fennel seeds as well. Superb! With water: turmeric, velvety earthiness, bitter chocolate, praline, nutmeg and cocoa. Really great with water now! Finish: long, gently earthy, salty, leathery, meaty and with light red and citrus fruits throughout. Really quite close to cask 97 now. Comments: I had it at 90 in the beginning but the palate and a little water elevated it a solid extra point. Again it’s the complexity that strikes the deepest impression.
SGP: 661 - 91 points.


Jura 1964/1973 (cask #95, sherry)
Colour: amber. Nose: this one opens on hessian and cough syrups. Lots of cherry throat sweets, hints of dry roast peanuts, toasty cereals and fruity muesli with plenty of dates, dried cranberries and perhaps a wee shot of espresso on the side. Not that I’d suggest you drink this with breakfast! Some lovely notes of plum eau de vie, salted almonds, frying bacon, blood orange, wee briny touches and ginger biscuits. Some wild flowers as well and notes of heather ale. Perhaps a refill cask rather than first fill? With water: ointments, breads, linen, cough syrups, bay leaf, bitter ales, ink and a gentle coastal freshness pulsing in the background. Really harmonious and enchanting. Mouth: beautiful delivery! All on heather honey, crystalised fruits, mirabelle, quince, raisins soaked in cognac, sultanas, Dundee cake and earl grey tea. Quite a departure from the other two, more of a gentle natural sweetness and wonderfully complex fruit profile. Lemon peel, fresh breads, lightly yeasty notes, linseed oil and cloves. With water: lemon infused tea, chocolate lime sweets, wee notes of caraway liqueur, camphor, old wine cellar, rosehip, jasmine and truffle oil. The kind of complexity that can be quite demanding of your attention and time but is extremely rewarding. Finish: Long, oily, full of citrus fruits, gentle sea air, tea biscuits, lightly hoppy notes, wood resins, fruit oils and a lick of mint. Comments: My favourite of the three I’d say. I loved the power of the other two but this one just has something really charming about it. Feels like a good refill cask that has boosted the lighter, more ethereal and fruity aspects of the distillate. Just needs time and a little attention is all.

SGP: 651 - 92 points. 



Many thanks Phil & Simon!  







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