Does Travel Retail still exist? I’m honestly curious because air travel has been hit so hard by the pandemic. Also, I’ve not been near an airport for well over 18 months. So, for all I know they just gave up and started selling all airport wares elsewhere. For example, part of the distillery’s Travel Exclusives, The Isle of Jura The Road is available pretty much anywhere.
Then again, so-called Travel Retail Exclusives from whisky distillers have never actually been just that, not even pre-pandemic. Maybe initially, but usually a few months after launch they inevitably show up in regular retail shops. I wonder what that’s all about. Because if they’re not interesting enough to be bought by someone stuck in an airport or on a ferry, then I don’t see why it should appeal outside of those locations, where whisky drinkers have access to a much broader choice.
Either way, here we are. I have a sample of Isle of Jura The Road and I’m writing a review about it. I don’t have very strong feelings about the distillery, but love the island. I do believe the distillery has become somewhat of an undeserved black sheep among online whisky reviewers. It seems to have become an easy target. And sure, it is not always accessible, but beauty can be found on the coast of Jura too.
Just a few tidbits about Isle of Jura The Road before I move on to my tasting notes. It doesn’t have an age statement and was finished in casks that have previously held 20 year old Pedro Ximénez sherry. Does that mean proper solera casks? Maybe.
Isle of Jura The Road (43.6%, OB, 2020)
Nose: Notes of crisp red apple from the start, but also touches of cinnamon, cardboard and liquorice. Soft notes of brown sugar and burnt caramel too, followed by stewed red fruits and nectarine. Just a touch of smoke and a few sour notes. Taste: Slightly funky and musty with a touch of cinnamon and roasted peanuts, as well as damp oak and a very gentle smokiness, followed by a whisper of mint and coffee grounds. Finish: Lingering smoke and herbal notes. Walnut skins also.
Certainly not a dime a dozen. But then again, Jura never is. The Road is an interesting whisky with enough layers, but lacks a little power and richness.