Living in Scotland I’m fortunate to have access to the widespread range of local produce. While this includes some of the finest fish, lamb and venison, it’s the whisky that perhaps features the most indoors.
Isle of Jura is a small distillery named after an incredibly small island on the West Coast of Scotland, home to just a few hundred souls. I’ve often seen the distinctive bottle on store shelves across numerous retailers. So they do have good distribution unlike say Balblair, which is more to be found at specialist whisky outlets. Unlike Glenmorangie they seem to keep their range simple without a multitude of varieties or finishes. Perhaps I’m just a traditionalist, preferring the simple life minus the latest fad or flavoured whisky barrel upsetting the pure balance of a fine malt.
Having picked up my Balblair earlier this week I had restrained myself from the ’89 vintage or even that Japanese 18yr malt. When my wife informed me that Tescos were doing a special this week on Isle of Jura (just £16!!), well, you cannot refuse such a gift. So last night I set about visiting Jura via a bottle.
A common problem I find with 10yr single malts is they just need more time or have been released without care and attention. While I can appreciate the concern of releasing a batch that won’t stand the test of time further down the line as a more vintage release, often they end up as part of a blend. So sometimes it’s a damage limitation exercise and that’s when retailer discounts come into play; what may seem like a bargain, is actually more of a reflection of the malts true position. With competition from abroad, Scottish distillers have been eclipsed, so I was surprised that the Jura is flavoursome and packs a decent range featuring an essence of spice and a lingering smoky undercurrent that assists rather than dwarfs the other components.
Jura is far from the strongest malt and if I was tasting this blind, I’d place it in the Speyside range of malts. It’s a pleasant drink and a good place to start before moving onto more expensive and enjoyable labels. I’d certainly dish this out to friends who do not appreciate whisky and it’s an ideal bottle to have around the house.