Thursday, May 24, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #89

Isle of Jura Superstition
Single Malt Whisky
45% abv

It is hard to keep your eyes off Jura's paps... the mountains so named because of their resemblance to a pair of breasts. And if it weren't for these two beauties, the climate on Jura would perhaps not be so unique. Inspired by the tall peaks, Jura's 17-foot tall stills produce a spirit as pure as the water that runs down the sides of each of these shapely paps.

Closed from 1908 unil 1963, Isle of Jura distillery produces a spirit that is not necessarily what one would expect from an Island malt. The island is covered with peat bogs, but since re-opening in 1963, the make produced here has been largely unpeated. In recent years this has changed, in part to supply some smoke to the Whyte & Mackay blended whiskies. Some of this peated Jura has found its way into independent releases. More has been used to make up a small component of this vatted expression: young peated Jura(30%) and older unpeated sherried Jura (70%).

The distillery has always taken great effort to exist, and its perseverance is part luck and part practicality. At one time all the barley had to be lugged from the pier to the distillery and today all incoming materials, outgoing waste and finished products need to travel by sea twice. It is thus remarkable that such a place has a distillery as we know the board room can be an unfair place to distilleries who don't make much sense on paper. Once employing a quarter of the male work force of Jura, advances in technology have assisted the financial viability of the distillery. But still, it could be argued that Isle of Jura distillery only exists to this day (post-1993) because it manages to meet the malt-style requirements of Whyte & Mackay's Master Blender, Richard Paterson. More info back at
Malt Mission #39.

Hate the deer hunting 'game' on the website.


Brown sauce with gammon and chips, followed by sweet sherry. Some hot empty-oven aroma, peaches and nuts. Tropical fruit drink and smoke.

Incredibly soft, very reminiscent of the Whyte & Mackay 12 Premium Reserve (Malt Mission #58) impact. Sherry and smoke. Brioche. Some of that Jura pine and honey. Finish gets surprisingly astringent in the cheeks with flavours of hot chocolate, smoke and a touch of salt.


Many people I have known or worked with cringe when you say the name Jura, while others sing its praises. Ignoring the geographical and economic constraints the distillery faces and yet still perserveres(let's hope this doesnt change under Vijay Mallya and UB), for me, Superstition fulfills the classic equation of Character + Drinkability + good value = Nice one. Also feels good to support the economics of a whole Island with every purchase. Be a hero. Buy a Jura.

Malt Mission #86
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Malt Mission #88
Malt Mission #90

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