By Richard Thomas
It’s been a while since we’ve touched on Jura single malts (several years for me in particular), so I think a little reintroduction is in order. Jura is an island in the Inner Hebrides, north of and adjacent to Islay. It’s a mountainous and boggy island, and it’s main claims to fame are having more deer than people, that George Orwell retreated there to write 1984 and its whisky distillery.
Jura Distillery dates back to 1810, before the easing of restrictions on distillation under the Excise Act of 1823 that effectively legalized Scotch production. It’s presently part of the Whyte & Mackay portfolio, which in turn is owned by the Filipino company Emperador (itself part of Alliance Global Group).
Jura 10 Year Old is the core expression in the distillery’s single malt line, and has gone through at least three changes of appearance and titling since my first exposure to Jura 10 Year Old some years ago. Once upon a time there were two versions of this release, a 43% ABV, 750ml bottling for the American market and a 40% ABV, 70cl bottling for the rest of the world, and both were once titled “Origin.”
Now the “Origin” is gone, so it’s simply Jura 10 Year Old. The American bottling is 40% ABV, just like the rest of the world. Finally, the whisky is now known to be aged in ex-bourbon barrels and finished in Sherry butts.
In the glass, Jura 10 Year Old has a lightly coppered, golden appearance, something like apple juice. The liquid is somewhat viscous, leaving just a few legs after a swish and those resembling the veins of a leaf.
The nose has a soft, sweetly honeyed cereal base, joined with dabs of peat smoke, pepper and dry oak. It’s a simple, but well-rounded and balanced scent, and very much in tune with what one might imagine for an Islands single malt.
On the palate, it’s got a silky texture, and a flavor that smacks of malty cereals and apples, with just a touch of anise to make things interesting. Once again, it’s simple stuff, so simple that it’s missing some elements that were present on the nose and without anything new taking up the gap. The finish picks up on the peppery, dry aspect of the scent, winding down with some light warmth.
Expect a 750ml bottle of Jura 10 Year Old to run you $50.