Jura Journey

Last year news reached the distant Malt outpost of the forthcoming Jura rebranding. The current range was gone, finito, fini, terminado… This represented an interesting move, a huge gamble and roll of the dice. Jura’s previous incarnation was never disappointing in sales or distribution.

Why risk alienating your own core market in the pursuit of something else? Allegedly what Edrington have achieved with Highland Park was an inspiration. There’s nothing wrong with reaching for the stars and a newly found confidence. Yet the comparison crumbles beyond the mere fact both are distilleries. Highland Park despite its current preference from black bottles devoid of whisky information and an accelerating price tag, is actually capable of producing a memorable whisky. Sadly Jura in my experiences produces a memorable whisky for all the wrong reasons.

For several years now I’ve undertaken a quest to find a Jura that resonates with me. It’s been a rocky road and an endless journey brimming with financial outlay and little reward. The trick whenever I’m faced with a new Jura whisky is not to look back in anger. Yes, I’ve developed a reputation for not holding back when reviewing such disappointingly dire whiskies. Going so far as to comically suggest that the island was being excavated by demonologists with a linkage to the Jura whisky of the time. It’s all a bit of tongue in cheek fun and a light relief to all the seriousness that surrounds and suffocates whisky.

My Jura journey has offered the odd glimmer of hope and promise amongst the pain and turmoil. The Cadenhead’s 30 year old from 1986 is still the tangible proof that Jura can deliver an excellent whisky. Rather than disturb sacred ground let us consider the new brand you’ll be seeing across the UK and further afield.

This all sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Except enthusiasts will know such a brand change may have been on the cards for the last couple of years and whisky takes longer to become such. What this new Jura range relies on is existing maturing stock originally intended for the now deleted expressions. You can put whatever label on the bottle and throw some newly styled packaging into the mix but the liquid itself has not been transformed. Unless that is you resort to finishes or using older stock to blend a new whisky, where the first few releases set an impressive benchmark that you slowly retreat from by introducing younger stock into the equation. Not that a brand would resort to such tricks nowadays.

The revamped range does feature the use of an Oloroso Sherry cask finish in the 10 and 12 year olds, different cask types for the Seven Wood whereas the 18 is finished in red wine casks. This is all utilising existing Jura distillate. The mystery for many out there is why Jura has been so lacking, to put it mildly? There are various conspiracy theories around the spirit cut, poor quality of the casks or the hand of the Nose. All pure speculation yet what endures is the belief Jura can do better.

Currently retailing for around £35, chances are you’ll see this cheaper at your local supermarket. Jura has always gone for discounts in such retail environments to reasonable success. Arguably its where its core audience resides. Knocking £10 off the normal price prompted me to finally take the plunge and engage with the new Jura vision. Looking online you can pick it up for £25 on Amazon currently. It’s bottled at 40% strength and is a no age statement release matured in American White Oak ex-bourbon barrels.

Jura Jouney Whisky Review

Journey Jura – review

Colour: honey

On the nose: very subdued and inoffensive. Honey, funnily enough, barley sweets and a gentle seasoning of peat. Freshly baked shortbread, a ginger loaf and I’m thinking vanilla fudge. All approachable and a second dram reveals delicate notes of blackcurrant, orange peel and a musty quality. What’s noticeable is how thin and fragile this whisky noses – underlined when you add water. A touch of smoke unravels with toffee but water must be used sparingly.

In the mouth: watery in a way and yet the peat steps up. The mouthfeel is pretty vapid and fleeting with traces of that alcohol spirit on the fringes I often associate with Jura. A light creamy vanilla caramel and a touch of wax. Fading cinnamon and a waft of smoke. There’s very little definition here in today’s 4K realm as this harks back to a more simple era.

Conclusions

You know, I don’t mind this. The whisky is better than I had anticipated even with its shortcomings. Perhaps its the peat covering up the cracks. At £35 I wouldn’t recommend it but pitched at the £25 discounted level it seems more appropriate. The journey is relatively short and inoffensive representing more of a quick walk around the block than anything enduring or empowering.

Is it the start of a new Jura journey here at Malt? Does the entry level expression in the core range prompt me to move on to the next release? I’m not sure, to be honest. The Journey will attract new followers to the Jura brand while at the same time alienating many of its loyal following. A point knocked off for daring to ask £35 for this which is a bit cheeky given the contents.

Score: 4/10

There are a couple of commission links in this review – as always these don’t influence our verdict or score.

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  1. Avatar
    Deryck Hall says:

    It’s a shame I didn’t read your review before I bought this whisky. I found it didn’t have body (or soul) and I won’t be buying it again. Using your scoring system I’d give it, at most, a 3.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. Jason
      Jason says:

      Thanks, Deryck, sad to hear your Jura purchase didn’t work out. This one isn’t too bad compared a couple of others I’ve reviewed recently. Better luck with your next purchase!

      1. Avatar
        Peter says:

        No flavour, no soul and as a long time drinker of Jura whisky I will no longer be indulging in this range of malts.

        1. Jason
          Jason says:

          Hi Peter, always sad to hear but you’re not alone amongst several I know. This Jura rebranding has been a bit of a misfire and as a consumer, there are plenty of choices elsewhere.

  2. Avatar
    Dave Coleman says:

    There really are a lot of pretentious tw*ts out there (that is twits btw). I found the nose particularly runny , the glass that contained it almost clear, the peatiness was quite dungy and the stairs quite challenging after three home measures , 8 out of 10 for the drink but what do I know ? Enjoy and loosen up !! Will review again soon , happy days kisses

  3. Avatar

    I do believe there are some pretentious tw*ts out there (that is twits btw) , my experience was that the nose was runny , the first gargle never made it back out of the mouth , there was honey , blackcurrant , celery , wood , plastic , grass and some charcoal still in the teeth , however after 3 glasses the stairs were still visible and I arose next day without any (additional) brain malfunction , I give an 8 out of 10 @22 smackers (what do I know ?) , bless you all , will report back soon , drink safely , keep both hands on the wheel … kisses

  4. Avatar
    Glen says:

    Mild could be one way of describing it, bought on a whim as on special. I’m no whiskey buff but there’s extreme neutrality here with little left after other than a clean palette. I’m not gonna talk about notes or a ‘hint of rhubarb’ so to speak. Nothing special frankly but perhaps a good starter for people who don’t like whiskey as this doesn’t bite, at all. To be honest the Co-Op’s own brand blended is a little more exciting.

      1. Avatar
        Glen says:

        Yup, thanks Jason. It is disappointing but nonetheless it’s going down in a steady state. Perhaps more suited to cocktails? Yes, do try the Co-Op blended, it’s really not bad at all :).

  5. Avatar
    P Gardner says:

    As a fan of 10yr single malt Jura I bought this from my nearby Sainsbury yesterday for a valued £25. It did the job and left us glowing after a few. We cant complain and I would ward it a 3 out of 4. Taste is always a Subjective thing and this Jura had all the key Jura signature notes. We will be getting pie eyed again on this! Cheers!

    1. Jason
      Jason says:

      Thanks for commenting P, as you can see a whole range of opinions on this article. At £25 for a named single malt, there’s little to grumble about. Cheers, Jason.

  6. Avatar
    Scotty S says:

    Winston Churchill once said that “diplomacy was the art of telling somebody to go to hell in such a way they look forward to the journey”

    Your diplomacy in not saying that this whisky is totally rubbish is commendable.

    Its only saving grace in my belief is that my bottle is only a half size and was a gift.

    Not so much a journey, but definitely the road to hell.

    ;o)

    1. Jason
      Jason says:

      Hi Scotty,

      I try to look for a glimmer of light in every whisky – sometimes its a thankless task and Jura pushes those boundaries. This is ok, especially compared to the convoluted Dante Inferno Jura 7 Wood, which is pure evil.

      Cheers, Jason.

  7. Avatar
    King Beedle says:

    This was so bad (I couldn’t finish my dram) that it actually stopped me from buying ‘on sale bottles’ at random in a supermarket and instigated my new found passion for finding and trying different whiskies, eventually leading me to this website and even becoming a patron. A silver lining, perhaps? Now with a rather decent collection, I nevertheless still keep the Jura Journey at hand, just to ground myself on how bad things can really get *shudder*

    1. Jason
      Jason says:

      Hi KB

      Firstly, thanks for being a Patreon and ensuring we can cover more Jura in the future. You should try the clusterf*ck that is the Jura 7 wood. A frantic attempt to save inept whisky.

      Hopefully, we can unearth some gems for you in due course.

      Cheers, Jason.

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