Whisky Focus - Jura 50th Anniversary Tweet Tasting

Jura 50th Anniversary Tweet Tasting

3rd June 2013
I recently got the chance to taste some of the finest malts Jura has to offer. This is what I thought:

At this years "Fèis Ìle" (Islay Whisky Festival) the Jura distillery celebrated its 50th anniversary. I thought Jura was much older than 50 years I hear you say, you are correct Jura was built in 1810, and was rebuilt in 1876. Like many other distilleries Jura closed in 1913 during World War I but it did not reopen after the war due to a dispute between the building owner and the distillery machinery owner.

The distillery lay silent until 1958 when two local estate owners, Robin Fletcher and Tony Riley-Smith set about rebuilding the distillery. They employed architect William Delme-Evans who introduced tall, elegant stills into the distillery and it is those very same stills that continue to produce Jura malt whisky to this very day.

The distillery reopened in 1963, so technically they are celebrating 50 years since the Jura distillery reopened.

Last Thursday evening (30th May) as part of the Jura 50th anniversary celebrations I was invited to take part in a very special Tweet Tasting hosted by Steve Rush of thewhiskywire.com. What made this tasting so special was the line up of Jura whiskies which I got the chance to taste.

The Jura 50th Anniversary Tweet Tasting line up included:

  • Jura Turas Mara
  • Jura 1977
  • Jura Delme Evans
  • Jura 30 Year Old
  • Jura 39 ¾ Year Old

A very unique line up of Jura whisky, ranging from the Jura Turas Mara which is the latest addition to the Jura range to the oldest and rarest Jura 39 3/4 year old which is currently still maturing in its cask at the Jura distillery where it will be bottle next year at the grand old age of 40 years.

Jura Turas Mara Tasting Notes

The first whisky of the evening and the newest addition to the Jura range. Just recently released the Jura Turas Mara (Gaelic for "long journey") which is a very good name considering it is for sale exclusively in selected travel retail stores throughout 2013, with a RRP of £40 or €50.

Jura Turas Mara was inspired by the Diurachs who were forced to emigrate during the 18th & 19th centuries. Kentucky bourbon barrels, Spanish sherry, French oak & Portuguese port pipes give this whisky it's flavour, it is bottled at 42% ABV. It's definitely a world traveller.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Sweet vanilla, raisins, coconut ice, wee hint of orange. More coconut coming through now.

Taste: In the mouth sweet vanilla, raisins, cherry, toffee, some dry oaky spice. More orangey and toffee'd after a few mouthfuls.

Finish: Medium length, vanilla, some grape, bit of cherry and oak.

Comment: A lovely vanilla, honeyed, raisiny dram, a very easy to drink Jura for any occasion, just a pity you need a passport to get hold of it.

SMW Score 89/100

Jura 30 Year Old Camas An Staca Tasting Notes

The Jura 30 Year Old Camas An Staca was released near the end of 2012.

Called the Jura Standing Stone, or ‘Camas an Staca’ in Gaelic, the new expression takes its name from the largest of Jura's eight standing stones. Known as ‘The Bay of the Protecting Rocks’ this imposing 12 foot obelisk is reputedly all that remains of a stone circle laid some 3,000 years ago by the earliest Diurachs to appease the spirits.

Matured in American white oak before spending a further 3 three years finessing in Oloroso Sherry butts from Gonzalez Byass. Due to its rarity it is limited to 2500 bottle available per year, bottled at 44% ABV, it is priced around £415.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Jura 30 is a bit shy to show me what it has at first, it starts to reveal itself, some orange, sultanas, vanilla, creamy toffee.

Taste: A lovely rich palate, burnt orange and sweet barley sugar dance around the mouth coated in creamy toffee. After a few mouthfuls more juicy barley and fruit (cherry, orange, raisins) some oak spice in the background. Getting spicier, love it.

Finish: A lovely lingering toffee'd, dried fruits, spicy finish.

Comment: It was a bit shy at first but the good ones often are. Very lively given its 30 years love it!

SMW Score 92/100

Jura 1977 Juar Tasting Notes

The Jura 1977 is a limited-edition vintage port cask finished expression which was only launched in February 2013, which by my calculations makes it around 35 years old.

Filled to cask in 1977, this vintage release was originally matured in three first fill bourbon casks before being finished in a ruby port pipe for 12 months.

Jura 1977 is limited to 498 bottles, it was bottled at 46% ABV and available to buy from specialist whisky retailers currently priced around £700.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Sweet coconut, packed with exotic fruit - kiwi, tangerine and peach, creamy vanilla toffee.

Taste: Smooth in the mouth, delicious barley sugar, lovely peach fruitiness, creamy vanilla toffee, some spice peeking through.

Finish: More peach and juicy grape balanced with oak spice, an outstanding rich fruity port cask matured dram, love it!

Comment: The port cask lends an incredible rich juiciness to this smooth mature Jura expression. I do like a decent port cask finished whisky and this is a very decent mature Jura finished in a good port cask.

SMW Score 92/100

Jura Delme Evans Select Tasting Notes

Delve Evans is a very special bottle of Jura, named in honour of Mr William Delme Evans who re-built the Jura stills 50 years ago.

Distilled 1988 matured in American oak then re-racked into a Gonzalez Byass Oloroso Sherry butt Cask No. 1796 and bottled in 2007 at 59.98% ABV.

Just over 500 bottles of the Jura Delme Evans Select were released in 1988 and it completely sold out. But the distillery held some bottles back, and visitors to this year’s festival and participants in the Jura 50th Anniversary tweet tasting (including myself) will be the last in the world to enjoy this rare expression of Jura which was created using the very stills designed by the man whose name is on the bottle.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: Wee touch of sulphur on the Jura Delme Evans nose, big dark sherried fruitcake. Some nuttiness coming through, almonds, some banana.

Taste: Big thick dark sherry on the palate, no sulphur on the palate. Dark treacle toffee, burnt raisins, starting to really like this. Getting sweeter (Demerara sugar) and drier with each mouthful.

Finish: A long finish. Nutty, coffee, raisins, honeyed mildly drying.

Comment: Pity about the touch of sulphur on the nose but it didn't spoil it, still a very entertaining whisky, loads of dark sherried fruitcake notes, marmalade, treacle toffee. At 59.98% a drop of water certainly opens it up.

SMW Score 89/100

Jura 39 ¾ Year Old Tasting Notes

This rather unusual 39 ¾ year old whisky is a pre-launch of the Jura 40 year old which will officially be launched some time in 2014.

Matured in second fill sherry butt then transferred to amoroso sherry casks for the final year of maturation.
This pre launch sample is 51.4% ABV and I doubt it will drop much more between now and being bottled but it could still take on some more sherry between now and being bottled but here is what I think of it now.

William Morrison's Tasting Notes:

Nose: I could nose this 39 ¾ for hours. Big sherried Dundee cake come to mind. Dusty vanilla, Demerara sugar, burnt raisins, orange, crushed almonds, definitely old sherried Dundee cake.

Taste: In the mouth, loads going on, brilliant, this has aged well a delicious mature sherried Jura. Luscious sherry, some spice, dark chocolate. Getting drier by the mouthful. Grape, vanilla and wood spice combine wonderfully.

Finish: Long. Cadburys fruit and nut, cocoa, vanilla and mature oak all slowly fading.

Comment: Simply gorgeous, lovely balance of oak and sherry all with the Jura DNA. Brilliant my dram of the evening. And what a dram to finish the evening with. The price of Jura 39 ¾ (40 year old when it will be released) is yet to be confirmed. I am told it will potentially be launched in the Spring 2014. Definitely amongst the best big sherried drams in this age group which I have had the pleasure of tasting. Highly recommend it if it is within your budget.

SMW Score 94/100

I was very pleased to have been invited to take part in this very unique Jura 50th Anniversary Twitter tasting. A fantastic and probably never to seen again line up of Jura whiskies varying from the newest to the oldest and rarest. With good quality cask selection Jura really does age well. It is difficult to pick a favourite as all were good, the 30 year old and 1977 were outstanding but if forced to choose one dram it would be the Jura 39 ¾ year old.

Look out for it when the Jura 39 ¾ year old comes of age, it is scheduled to be released as a 40 year old next year, it really is an outstanding big sherried mature Jura.

A big thank you to the Isle of Jura and Steve @ The Whisky Wire who organised the tasting, I doubt I will get the chance again to taste such a unique line up of Jura whiskies at the same time. It was a memorable evening. If you want to know what others thought of the five whiskies then check out #Jura50TT over at Twitter.

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