By Richard Thomas
Isle of Jura is a specialty branch of the Whyte and Mackay family. The whiskey is made at a single, historic distillery dating to 1810, located on the namesake island, right next door to the more famous island of Islay. Jura itself is a storied place, albeit somewhat forbidding and thinly populated, at least according to George Orwell, who retreated there to write his novel 1984.
Despite coming from such an old distillery, the Isle of Jura whiskey line is relatively new. Jura’s scotches is built around notions and imagery of local traditional and medieval Celtic mysticism, and it includes a handful of limited editions. The Isle of Jura 10 Year Old Single Malt, however, is the entry-level label of the line, hence “Origin.”
In keeping with the Jura style, the box bears the Celtic symbol for birth, while the bottle combines a bit of the old fashioned with a bit of the modern, being clear with a slight indentation about the waist and embedded lettering.
In the glass, Isle of Jura’s 10 Year Old has a light, almost lemony gold coloring. The scotch has a woody nose with a hint of floral honey. The light color belies the flavor, which is of a mid-to-heavy body. Once again, the oaky wood is in the forefront, with dabs of sweet honey, caramel and vanilla behind it. The finish is smoky, with just a tinge of a spicy bite on it.
This is a very easy-going, accessible single malt, and therefore ideal for its place. It is the sort of thing a whiskey-lover might keep on the shelf as a drink-any-time single malt, or hand out as a gift.
Isle of Jura’s 10 Year Old single malt is reasonably priced, and usually appears on American store shelves for between $30 and $40, most often at the middle of that spectrum. In Europe, I see it priced for between 28 and 30 euros.
Origin has won silvers at the International Wine and Spirits Competition, from 2007 to 2010