Whisky Review #70: Isle of Jura 30 Years Old (Limited Edition)

We are no strangers to the whiskies produced by the Isle of Jura distillery on this blog. In fact, two reviews of separate expressions have appeared on here over the past year and they give a glimpse of what the distillery does well (in terms of its core range) and what it is capable of (in terms of its limited editions).

Both of these reviews can be found at the following link: Jura

Having previously delved into the history of the distillery in these earlier posts, it would probably be best if this review focused more on the expression itself. And what an expression it is indeed!

This particular expression is the 30 Years Old offering from the distillery, although the packaging is rather different from what we tend to see. The current incarnation has been given the title of Camas an Staca, which is a nickname for the “Standing Stone”. These 8 stones are the remains of an ancient stone circle which was built by the ancient inhabitants of the island (known as Diurachs) over 3000 years ago.

30-yo-3
Camas an Staca (Picture credit: http://www.whisky-discovery.blogspot.com)

But the expression we are focusing on for this review was bottled in 2010 as a limited edition version of the 30 Years Old and was presented in a handsome leather box. Only 1200 of these bottles were commissioned and the picture below showcases what the packaging looks like.

iojob-30yov1
Isle of Jura 30 Years Old (Limited Edition)

I tried this particular expression when I was in Amsterdam back in June and it was a part of a whisky flight which featured the Glenrothes Oldest Reserve and Glenmorangie Signet, both of which have been reviewed previously on this blog.

This expression has spent the first 27 years of its life maturing in American oak casks before being transferred to sherry casks from the famed Gonzalez Byass bodega in Spain for the final 3 years of maturation before being bottled at a standard abv of 40% by the distillery.

So, let’s jump right in!

isle-of-jura-30-years-old
Isle of Jura 30 Years Old (Limited Edition)

Isle of Jura 30 Years Old (Limited Edition, 40% abv)

Colour: Deep gold

Nose: Initial entry presents a rich and intense aroma which is redolent with wood spices such as cinnamon as well as lashings of honey and some heather. With time, chewy malt, barley sugar and a hint of peat emerge and they are quickly followed by a fruity and floral one-two of lemons and violets respectively.

The sherried notes are rather restrained, but linger on in the background to provide a level of complexity. A splash of brine emerges towards the end and is accompanied by a distant whiff of acetone. (23/25)

Palate: Initial entry is smooth and rather sweet, with more of the honey and barley sugar from the nose transferring on to the palate. Hints of sherry emerge on the palate, but it isn’t as sweet as one would expect and tends to meld seamlessly with the barley sugar. The peat is fleeting and doesn’t register as much as it did on the nose.

Chewy malt, lemon citrus, violets and cinnamon make an appearance as time goes on and the these elements combine beautifully to represent the sweet, fruity, floral and spicy aspects of the palate. The final piece in the jigsaw puzzle emerges in the form of sea salt and the acetone detected on the nose lingers on in the fringes. (24/25)

Finish: Medium in length, with the sherry notes fading and allowing for the honeyed sweetness and oaky cinnamon to be complemented by the lemony citrus note which has been ever-present throughout the proceedings. The level of sophistication in this dram is astounding! (22/25)

Balance: Exceptionally well-balanced and an immensely enjoyable dram which showcases all of its individual aspects in their own right as well as a collective. The mouthfeel is initially oily but does become increasingly dry towards the end, although it never loses that oily edge. (23/25)

Rating: 92/100

I have to admit that I initially had my reservations when I noticed that this dram was bottled at a standard abv of 40%, but considering that the actual abv would not have been that far away from the end result, it was heartening to see such complexity from this dram.

This would definitely be my favourite expression from the distillery and it is an immensely well crafted whisky which deserves to be savoured by everyone if they were to get a chance to do so.

This limited edition of Jura is extremely difficult to find online, although certain auction sites may toss up a bottle from time to time. That being said, the official bottling within the core range is pretty much the same  whisky, so one would definitely be able to sample this without too much difficulty.

The core range version of the Isle of Jura 30 Years Old can be purchased at Master of Malt for £331.84 (ex-VAT, although it is currently sold out and will be back soon) or at The Whisky Exchange for £332.50 (ex-VAT and in stock), so please do get it when the opportunity presents itself!

Until the next review, have a wonderful week ahead.

Slainte!

Brendan

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