On Dec 5th I was lucky enough to take part in another Twitter tasting organised by Steve Rush, this time the distillery of interest was Jura. Jura is one of those distilleries for which I have some affinity for the simple reason that their spirits were amongst the first whiskies that set me on this whisky odyssey! I have memories of ducking into a hotel in Cheltenham to shelter from a sudden rainstorm that had caught a friend and I out whilst walking home after a trip to the pub, so we frequented the bar where we decided to have a nightcap before attempting the final sprint back to my flat... neither of us particularly knew anything about whisky at that time, but for some reason we were drawn to a bottle of Jura and we both really enjoyed our dram!
Anyway, back to the tasting itself. We were to be sampling five expressions released as part of Jura's new Sherry Cask Collection... the brands first Travel Retail (Duty Free) exclusive range comprising of five expressions which have been finished in either a 15, 20, 30 or 40 year old Pedro Ximenez sherry cask. My notes, and some information imparted by Steve on the night follow:
Jura - The Sound - NAS - 42.5% abv - £45
"Matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels and finished in casks that previously held 15 year old Pedro Ximénez sherry. Celebrates a northern strait of water that separates Jura from the Scottish mainland. Home to the Gulf of Corryvreckan, a notorious whirlpool lying in wait for the unwary"
Nose: Sweet and fruity... Chewits, fresh raspberries & plums. Some oaky vanilla notes in the background too.
Palate: More spicy tobacco notes that I was expecting given the nose. Tart red grapes mingle with sweet dried figs.
Finish: Very subtle cigar some and a little salinity mingle with strawberry on the finish. Eventually left with a very subtle bbq smoke quality. Very nice for the price!.
Jura - The Bay - 12 years old - 44% abv - £69.99
"Matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels and finished in casks that previously held 15 year old Pedro Ximénez sherry. Sheltered by a string of islands, ‘The Bay’ is where the islanders meet the sea. White sands in the north, the jetty overlooked by the distillery in the south, life around the bay is marked by the coming and going of the tides."
Nose: Marzipan, warm mince pies, cointreau… Typical Xmas orange spicey notes! With time in the glass, sweet pineapple becomes evident..
Palate: More obvious sherry influences, raisins & prunes & orange oil. Quite a good spice kick though, clove and fresh red chilli.
Finish: Hints of fennel give way to sweeter liquorice notes at the end, and a lingering tobacco quality similar to The Sound.
Jura - The Road - NAS - 43.6% abv - £60
"Matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels and finished in casks that previously held 20 year old Pedro Ximénez sherry. Inspired by the islands one road to navigate by. Emerging out of the wilderness, the long, overgrown trail traces the shoreline heading south and leading to the Distillery."
Nose: An oilier, smokier beast than the previous two… real coastal quality to this one, with hints of iodine, seaweed and woodsmoke. Search hard enough and you'll still find sweet, sherry cask influenced dried fruits, esp apricots.
Palate: Loads of sweet things going on here… buttery rum raisin, chocolate, bbq'd banana.
Finish: Milky coffee with brown sugar and a lingering subtle smoke… another yummy dram.
Jura - The Loch - NAS - 44.5% abv - £70
"Matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels and finished in casks that previously held 30 year old Pedro Ximénez sherry. Inspired by Market Loch, found 1000ft above sea level. The pure waters are said to bring @jurawhisky to life."
Nose: More subtle than the previous four. Quite buttery, still sweet with warming spice though… cinammon, crème brulee, black currant. Dry vanilla woody notes too. Bit mixed up, but nice!
Palate: Big Red chewing gum & dark chocolate. Orange zest & warm brandy.
Finish: Softens & sweetens eventually to give a sort of baklava like finish.
Jura - The Paps - 19 years old - 45.6% abv - £85
"Matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels and finished in casks that previously held 40 year old Pedro Ximénez sherry. Inspired by the mountains, which tower over the landscape for miles around"
Nose: Smells really old. It's got a dry dusty, leathery quality to it, yet it's enveloped in rich brandy soaked fruits like date & fig. Re-visit it and you get cola cubes and a very subtle wiff of wood smoke.
Palate: Has an umami (cheek sucking!) quality! With tartness from red grape & berries, sweetness from the fig & dates picked up on the nose with a little toffee… combined with coastal notes like samphire and v.gentle peat smoke. Complex and lovely.
Finish: A lovely, gentle yet prolonged fading of everything picked up on the palate. This is delicious.
The Paps were my clear favourite on the night... The Road was also very enjoyable, and The Sound is excellent value for money I reckon. I'm looking forward to my next trip abroad so that I can revisit the range in Duty Free and perhaps treat myself to a bottle! :-) My thanks to Steve and to Jura for the opportunity to taste these excellent drams. Until next time!