Thursday, February 22, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #39

Isle of Jura
Special Island Edition
Heavily Peated Cask Strength
7 Year Old
58.4% abv
price unknown

This is the first of two gifted sample bottles that I will be tasting to end our Island-themed week. THANK YOU, Michael(Royal Mile Whiskies).

This is a single cask Jura from the 2006 Islay Festival of Malt and Music. Jura is an incredibly beautiful island that sits just between Islay and the Mull of Kintyre on the west coast of Scotland. If you are going to ever make the whisky pilgrimage to Islay, don't miss Jura. After we visited the distillery we gained great respect for Jura as they seem to exist against all economic sense. And thank goodness for it because it is the core of the island's economy. Luckily the 25 deer per human aren't in competition for the same jobs...

Jura has many obstacles in getting its barley shipped to the island, getting its casks of whisky off the island, as well as getting its waste to its disposal point on Islay. These are added expenses that would seem to gobble up the already small profit margins that distilleries run on, but nonetheless Whyte & Mackay has kept Jura going strong. The remoteness adds to the allure. The old warehouse seems to whistle when the wind blows against its walls and the palm trees make you want to jump in the often freezing Sound of Jura. And how many islands have a pair of mountains called 'paps'?

The peated expression of Jura doesnt get out much, but was available as a 5yo from Royal Mile Whiskies in 2004. Other special editions include a 19yo that commemorates Eric Blair, called '1984'. Why? Because Eric lived on Jura when he completed a famous book of the same name. He was better known as George Orwell.


Toffeed smoke, vanilla or butterscotch tobacco, a brininess beneath that acts as a sea floor; if you try to dig beneath it you get a big nose prickle of alcohol. But there is peat and a sweet core of shortbread and almonds.

Puff the magic dragon... wooohooo! Burnt wood down by the sea, toasty and peaty, seared fish in butter and red wine. Marzipan and smoke from a blown out candle. Straighforward and well-integrated.


Solid peaty whisky. Not much more to say. Smoky whisky defined, without interference of sherry or iodine. Special in that it is not quite an south-shore Islay sort of peatiness nor a Benriach or Ardmore speyside kind of peatiness. If you want to try a peaty Jura and cant get this, look for Superstition. It is a vatting of this sort of young heavily peated malt and much older unaged Jura.

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