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Of the many different kinds of whisky I have tried over the years, one that I have tried several versions of is Jura. Along with the standard 10 year version they all make a lightly peated on called Superstition and they also make a heavily peated on called Prophecy. This time though I am going to be taking a look at the bog standard 10 year version, this is the one you see most often when you pop down to the supermarket.
Jura is a small island of the west coast of Scotland. The distillery there is named after the island and has been producing whisky for many many years. Jura is quite a popular whisky and they sell bottles all over the world. The first time I bought myself a bottle of this one was around five years ago, I like some of the other island whiskies and am a massive fan of Islay whisky which is usually quite peaty and smokey. I hoped that as this one was also made on an island it may be quite similar, so was it?
Well in a word no it was not. First of all the colour of the whisky, Jura is darker than average I would say, there are darker ones out there but Jura tends to be quite dark in colour. The smell you get when you slosh this around and take a sniff is quite sweet, not something I am really fond of. When you have a sip I find Jura is quite harsh and hits you full pelt, the taste is again sweet with strong barley flavours coming through. The finish is not as long as it should be and quite peppery which I do tend to like, but again that sweet almost honey like taste is not something I enjoy and so it spoils the entire drink for me.
Jura whisky is 40% so not a very strong one and you can usually buy it for around £28 although this is one that does very often come on offer. I spotted a bottle of this for just £21 over the Christmas period so it's worth shopping around and waiting for the offers to come on for this particular whisky.
For the average whisky drinker and certainly for new whisky drinkers this is a decent enough single malt. For me though it's not one I really enjoy, I have only bought this once and would say I'd be unlikely to buy it again in the future. If you like sweet whiskies then by all means give this a try, but if like me you prefer a good dose of peat and smoke then Jura is one that you should probably not bother with.
Last week, I decided that for once, I'd have a nice bottle of whisky, no more blended rubbish, a proper single malt was what I needed. I do like my whisky, and know the difference in taste between good and bad (try a supermarket value brand for bad quality; it tastes like an accident in an A Level Chemistry Lab).
A friend of mine is massive on whisky, and has tried just about every single one I can think of. He recommended the Jura, and I'm glad he did.
At £15 for a 35cl bottle, it's surprisingly good value for a single malt, given a 35cl of Johnnie Walker Black Label (referred to by my friend as "battery acid") costs about the same, and that's a blended whisky. So top marks for pricing.
Everything about the packaging tells you it's going to be a treat. Although not too fussy, the box is beautiful in itself, and gives a little history lesson on the side plus some vital information.
The bottle itself is an unusual shape, but that's no bad thing; it'd be boring if it was the same shape as Smirnoff vodka, for instance.
And the taste. My word it is something special. Prior to this, the youngest malt I had tasted was a 12 year old Glenfiddich, which was amazing. But this, despite being only a 10 year old, is better still; you can definitely tell that the alcohol is there, but unlike some whiskies I have tried, it isn't overpowering (many blended whiskies I've had, from taste alone seem to be just pure alcohol). You really get the sense that the folk at the distillery have made this as good as it could possibly be.
So, if you're on the way home, and fancy a nip when you get there, pop by your nearest supermarket and grab a bottle of Jura, it's utterly brilliant. And at £15 for a 35cl bottle, quite good value as well. I would imagine larger bottles are available, but the Tesco near us only seemed to have the smaller bottle. And sadly, it didn't last long enough!
10 year old Jura
This is one of my favourite single Malt Whiskeys and comes from the Isle of Dura which is populated by about 200 people called Diurach's (people from Jura) and a distillery. The origins of this distillery date back to 1810 but previous to that Whiskey is said to have been distilled on the island for many years before that. Jura really came into its own from the 1950's onwards when the, by then, out dated distillery was given a new lease of life. This particular 10 year old won the Silver award at the 2010 IWSC Awards.
The different whiskeys from Dura have symbolism on the label, this particular one denotes "birth" and signifies the rebirth of the distillery. The bottle is a distinctive shape unlike most Malt whiskeys which favour the traditional whiskey bottle style.
To the most important part, Jura should be sipped neat and or over ice. I personally prefer ice in my drink as I am not keen on warm spirits unless they come in the form of a hot toddy. As such to relax with a malt and take your time allows the ice to melt and you obtain a different level of taste each time you take a sip.
Jura 10 year old has a slightly sweet taste which is akin to honey or caramel and you can taste the suggestion of oak from the barrels it is mellowed in. There is the obvious alcoholic taste but this does not burn or is harsh in any way. I feel a warmth as I drink it and find it is a relaxing drink with good company. This is as far as my pallet takes me with this drink but apparently tastes such as coffee beans and soft liquorice can be tasted according to Jura's website. Personally I do not taste these when sipping the drink but probably glad that I don't.
A standard bottle in its cardboard packaging can cost up to £28 however I don't think I have ever paid more than £22. Waitrose had this 10 year old for sale for £21.99 only last week as a special. Most of the time the 10 year old can be found cheaper than the standard bottle of Jura.
The packaging makes the bottle good to wrap as a gift although be careful if you're thinking of a bottle bag as it won't fit the smaller ones. The packaging is very square.
For an extra bargain you can go onto the Jura website and sign up for emails which then allows you to become a "Honorary Diurach". This is registered at the distillery and special offers are sent out to all those that sign up. As a bit of fun they also give you your very own Diurach name and certificate
This is a very good single malt that has a distinctive taste and bottle. It helps to set it apart from the "run of the mill" malts and the taste - dependent what you add - is one to be savoured. A good quality malt for not a lot if you shop around.
Off the west coast of Scotland lies a magical island of soft sea breezes, freshly caught lobster and a bank that comes once a week. As good as life used to be. One shop, one pub, one community. One fine malt whisky distillery. A gift from nature. Pure spring water, clean fresh air and generations of tradition quietly crafting a more delicate island malt. Colour - Deep amber gold. Nose - Light, rich and aromatic. Positive and firm. Silky, almondy wood notes. Palate - Firm, distinguished, elegant tones. A fruity oiliness with just a hint of smoke gently enriches the palate.