Whisky Review #35: Isle of Jura 10 Years Old

Jura is one of my favourite distilleries and it has long been known that their Superstition expression was the very first single malt whisky that I tried back in 2008.

The distillery is owned by Whyte & Mackay, which in turn is owned by Emperador Inc. The latter is a Philippines-based spirits conglomerate which is also the largest producer of brandy in the world.

Interestingly enough, Whyte & Mackay was purchased in 2013 by United Spirits (which is a subsidiary of Diageo). However, the British Office of Fair Trading deemed the purchase to be anti-competitive in nature and forced Diageo to sell the company and its brands.

Initially, there was some speculation that Diageo would retain control of the Dalmore and Tamnavulin distilleries, but in the end the company and all its distilleries were sold on to Emperador for £430m in Novemver 2014.

I was supposed to visit the distillery last January during my trip to Islay, but the weather was rather wild and there were no ferries which were able to make the 5 minute crossing in such weather.

An interesting fact which was shared with me during my time on Islay is that while the crossing via ferry from Islay to Jura is only 5 minutes long, the currents in the Sound of Islay are said to be the 3rd strongest in all of Europe, thus making what would be an otherwise simple journey that much more complicated.

It also doesn’t help that the distillery is located a full 8.1 miles away from the ferry terminal and if one didn’t have transportation arranged or own a bicycle, they were resigned to making the trek on foot and it would take almost 3 hours to get there.

Getting back to the whisky, the 10 Years Old expression forms the bedrock of the core expressions and is one of the few which actually has an age statement.

There are other expressions (16 Years Old Diurach’s Own, 21 Years Old and 30 Years Old) from the distillery as well as some boutique expressions which are released from time to time, but for the most part the core range also features two NAS expressions:

  • Isle of Jura Superstition (lightly peated)
  • Isle of Jura Prophecy (heavily peated)

The focus of today’s review will be the 10 Years Old expression and it is one of my favourite releases from the distillery primarily due to its easily approachable and dangerously drinkable nature.

It was aged for a full 10 years in ex-bourbon casks before being bottled. There is evidence that E150a caramel colouring is used in most of the Jura whiskies and while I’m not a fan of such an adulteration, I can live with it.

So, let’s get on with it shall we?

Jura 10 Years
Isle of Jura 10 Years Old

Isle of Jura 10 Years Old (40% abv)

Colour: Honey

Nose: Sweet, honeyed notes on initial entry, with hints of salted caramel and toffee. There’s a spicy element to this, somewhat reminiscent of a mix of aniseed and liquorice.

Elements of vanilla and a good level of maltiness make this somewhat more-ish and there is a citrusy note which is reminiscent of green apples. (20/25)

Palate: The sweet, honeyed notes from the nose carry through to the palate and with time, the other elements from the nose also make an appearance.

Very smooth and sophisticated mouthfeel with the apple citrus note intermingling very well with the toffee and salted caramel notes. (20/25)

Finish: Short to medium finish, with the toffee and salted caramel notes being the standouts. Quite more-ish with just a hint of spice at the very end. Smooth all the way and coats the mouth well. The mouthfeel is slightly oily as well. (21/25)

Balance: Relatively well balanced, although it does seem rather underpowered at a bottling strength of 40% abv. This would be far more interesting at cask strength as it would allow for more nuances to filter through.

That being said, it is a very good whisky that would be well placed to be used as an introduction to single malts for drinkers looking to explore further. (19/25)

Rating: 80/100

The Jura 10 Years Old is a relatively good expression which is a solid representation of the distillery’s house style. While it may not be peated like its NAS counterparts, it does showcase that wonderful honeyed note which makes whisky drinkers come back for more (myself included).

The whisky can be purchased online from The Whisky Exchange for £27.25 (or £22.71 excluding VAT).

Until the next post, have a wonderful week ahead.

Slainte!

Brendan

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