Ladies and gentlemen, my quest is at an end. I have finally found a Jura whisky that tastes very, very good indeed. It’s been a long-time coming, for I have, as many long-time Malt readers will know, been largely unkind to Jura.
Somewhere along the years of distillation, there must have been some compromises to the spirit that went into the wood (for whisky is not just about the wood). Whether the cut was taken at a time more optimal to efficiencies rather than flavour, who can tell. But something wasn’t right. I’m not alone in thinking this – many of my peers share this view. One even has them on his Axis of Evil. Clearly, though, the branding has succeeded where the production values did not, and the company has done very well over the years.
But let’s put all of this to one side, for today I can safely say that I have found a thoroughly delightful Jura. It’s the Jura One And All – 20 Year Old.
The spiel is that on the 6th of February 2017, the Jura Distillery team got together to choose this Limited Edition bottling. One And All has been matured in American White Oak ex-bourbon barrels and specially prepared with (I’m not sure what this means?) Jura aged in Sherry wood, Sparkling Cabernet Franc casks, Cabernet Sauvignon casks and Pinot Noir barriques. Plenty of fancy blending going on here, but previously I’ve found that some of what’s done to the Jura spirit has been to mask something that wasn’t quite working beforehand. Hopefully this will be different.
It’s out there as a small batch release – I’m not sure what small batch is these days. It can be anything from 300 up to several thousand bottles. It’s bottled at 51% ABV and is available worldwide (can it really be that small batch if you can buy it across the planet?) with an RRP of £120.
Jura One And All – 20 Year Old Review
Colour: mahogany, exceptionally dark.
On the nose: massive doses of maple syrup, heather honey, dried prunes and figs. Heady tomato chutneys, with some chilli jam in there. Sundried tomatoes and olives adding a savoury edge. Drifting into balsamic vinegar. Mince pies. It’s crammed at one end of the spectrum – the sort of PX sherry equivalent – but it is very nice.
In the mouth: again, follows the nose closely with those dark and sticky flavours: more of the maple syrup (a ton, in fact). Walnuts. Marzipan. Drifts into Tiramisu. Touches of hoi sin sauce. Mince pie filling. Not too tannic, though it gets woody at the end, and it is rather velvety; you would almost think this is a Dalmore. The finish drops off a bit, leaving a residual cinnamon warmth.One can really sense the wine casks being rather active in this – perhaps more of the main ingredient than a powerful seasoning. But it works.
It is a bit on the blunt side, but to be honest I do like these sorts of flavours in a whisky a lot. Needless to say, if you like the sherry side of whisky, this will be right up your alley. Hats off to Richard Paterson – it takes a skilled chap to make the Jura spirit this charming and complex. (And I’m a proud Dalmore fan – I think he’s done a cracking job there, but Jura is a tougher offering.)
On an autumn afternoon outside, or evening by the fire, this is exactly the sort of thing I’d be summoning out of the whisky cabinet. The price is, perhaps, a little steep – but I guess that’s just the world we live in.
(Special Jura score: 11/10.)