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Isle of Jura 10 Years Old

Isle of Jura
10 Years Old Single
Malt Whisky


By Robert Plotkin

There are a handful of malts that couldn't possibly be made anywhere else on earth and still exude their same winning charm and personality. The unbeatable drams from the Isle of Jura are prime examples. Located just off the west coast of Scotland in the Inner Hebrides, Jura is an isolated, breathtakingly beautiful island on which deer outnumber the local population 27 to 1.

A mere 7 miles wide and 30 miles long, Jura's unusually temperate climate is due in large part to being sheltered from the North Atlantic by its significantly larger and more famous island neighbor, Islay. The gentle sea breezes and soft mountain-fed spring waters make Jura one of Scotland's most idyllic appellations to produce world-class malt.

That very thought has occurred to others over the past 200 years. The island's first distillery was built in 1810. Like many others in Great Britain, the distillery ceased operations in 1913 with the outbreak of World War I. Then in 1963, several of the islanders constructed a new facility upon the ruins of the old. It was outfitted with stills designed to produce lightly peated, Highland-type malts with engaging, yet gentle island characters. That they succeeded brilliantly is a matter of historical fact.

The lynchpin of the distillery's portfolio—Isle of Jura 10 Years Old Single Malt Whisky—is referred to as “Origin” by the Diurachs, the Gaelic word for the people living on Jura. Ten years in wood has imbued the malt with a golden yellow hue, an oily medium-weight body and the appealing aromas of chopped almonds, milk chocolate, baking spices and salty sea spray. Its palate is remarkably broad for a 10-year old whisky, a lingering array of caramel, roasted coffee and honey. The finish is a layered affair of semisweet malt, spicy licorice and a hint of peaty smoke. It's a whisky that can be savored every day and not grow impervious to its charms.

Isle of Jura Superstition features a blend of finest peated whiskies and older, traditionally finished malts stored in their warehouses. The 86-proof spirit has a mahogany hue, velvety, medium-weight body and generous nose of light peat, honey, cinnamon and toffee. The initial approach presents a touch of delicious smoke that is quickly followed by a spicy, nutty, fruity and herbaceous palate. The finish is long and nuanced with light smoke, sherry sweetness, sea spray and chocolate.

Alluring yet understated, the Isle of Jura 16 Years Old Single Malt Whisky makes an ideal entrée to the island experience. The shimmery gold malt has a satiny lightweight body and a bouquet laced with floral, oaky, spicy ginger and zesty orange aromas. Equally captivating, the palate immediately fills the mouth with sweet malt, caramel, honey and toasted oak. The lingering, semisweet finish is delicate with hints of sea salt. This 16-year old gem from Jura is a luxurious dram.

Isle of Jura Prophecy is a sophisticated, exuberant whisky loaded with 92-proof character. A blend of old and rare Jura whiskies, the limited release malt is heavily peated, finished in Gonzalez Byass Oloroso sherry butts and bottled unfiltered in its natural state.

Those looking for a dramatic malt need look no further. The whisky has a luminous, dark amber hue, an oily textured body and a wafting bouquet of honey, dried fruit, cinnamon and whiffs of smoke. Its glorious dose of peat makes itself immediately apparent on the palate. The intensity gradually subsides revealing flavors of brown sugar, spice and the taste of ocean air. The finish is smoky, warm and exhilarating.

The single malts from the Isle of Jura are a compelling, charismatic lot. They couldn't come from anywhere else on earth.