By Richard Thomas
The Isle of Jura whiskey line draws some inspiration from Celtic legends and mysticism, and much of the Jura image is inspired by things Celtic. However, some of the inspiration for Jura’s scotches are more local, and such is the case with their Prophecy single malt scotch whiskey.
As the story goes, in the early 18th century the Campbells of Jura evicted a wizened old seer from the island, who promptly cursed the Campbells with a little prognostication: that the last Campbell would leave the island one-eyed, his belongings all in one cart towed by a single white horse. In 1938, Charles Campbell, a Great War veteran who had lost an eye in the conflict, fell onto hard times and left the island, a white horse towing his things.
In invoking a local legend, Prophecy anchored itself to a more traditional style of scotch-making. It does without chill filtration, and is bottled at 46% alcohol, substantially stronger than many a scotch today. The scotch comes with no age statement.
Prophecy is a ballsy scotch, but not lacking in subtlety for all that. On the nose, Prophecy is strong with peat, with a silky undercurrent of sea spray to it. The flavor is bold, spicy and intensely peaty. The finish lasts for a middling length of time, has a bit of a fiery bite to it, but for the most part is so smoky it evokes the notion of standing in the malting room when the peat fire has been burning a good while.
In the UK, this retails for about 50 £, and in Europe for about 60 euros. Strangely, the scotch seems a bit cheaper in the United States than it is closer to its homeland, where it usually goes for about $65.
In 2009, Prophecy went to the International Wine and Spirits Competition and won a Silver – Best in Class, only to return the next year, improve on it performance and capture the Gold – Best in Class. Apparently the judges liked it better the second time around. The scotch also won a Platinum medal from the Beverage Testing Institute in 2010, and a Best in Show from the 2010 San Francisco Wine and Spirits Competition. Rounding out the picture are silvers from the 2009 and 2010 International Spirits Challenge.