isle of jura 18yo

Isle of Jura 18 Years (2019)

How incredible is the Isle of Jura? I’ve only been there twice, but I’ve experienced it as one of the most tranquil places on earth—although a little less so during deer rutting season. Just driving around, getting out of the car for walks and taking in the scenery. It’s nothing like any place near where I live, even though I’m from a rural area of the Netherlands, we’re still the most densely populated country in the world.

Jura Distillery has less of a pristine reputation. Among whisky enthusiasts it is known at best as a funky single malt and at worst as an experiment gone very wrong. Let’s just agree that it isn’t the most accessible of whiskies.

In charge of making the most out of Jura’s spirit is Richard Paterson, an esteemed master blender with decades of experience and lots of accolades. He’s (in)famous for his creative use of casks, sometimes using many different cask types to get to his preferred flavour profile. In the case of this Isle of Jura 18 Years he restrained himself, only opting for a (presumably short) finish in Premier Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux barrels, after an initial maturation in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels.

Isle of Jura 18 Years (44%, OB, 2019)

Nose: A touch of chalk and menthol, with a hint of violets, but it’s the sour note and copper coins that stands out to me. I sometimes find similar notes in Ben Nevis and Tobermory. Now mind you, there’s also room for fresh berries, hazelnuts and warm spices.
Taste: Dry, spicy and sweet with a gentle smokiness. Somewhat tannic as well. The wine influence is more noticeable, with plenty of sweet berries. There’s a touch of chocolate too, as well as some cigar tobacco. Slightly metallic.
Finish: Sultanas, bitter breakfast tea. Short to medium.

Score: 83

The different flavours don’t seem to come together entirely, as it’s lacking some cohesiveness at times. It has a subtle, dirty edge to it, which I know some people like. Also, it’s certainly not one dimensional or boring and offers enough of a challenge.

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