The island of Jura, located off the coast of its more famous neighbour – Islay – is mysterious and elusive. When it comes to whisky, likewise, the name Jura isn’t one that pops up often. But that may change the next time you step into a travel retail store.
The new range is called the Travellers Collection, and consists of ex-bourbon cask matured whiskies that are then further matured in ex-Pedro Ximenez sherry butts of various ages.
Literally the newest whiskies from Jura, this series is available exclusively to the Travel Retail market and is part of a major revamp by the reclusive distillery. The core range has also undergone a makeover and familiar sights such as Prophecy, Superstition, and Duriach’s Own have been discontinued.
Jura has recently taken on a more aggressive approach, marketing-wise, and the distillery has recently switched to a new house style that can be loosely described as a mixture of highlands and islands. In this day and age, where the lines defining the styles unique to a region are getting blurrier, the bold move may help Jura win more fans.
The primary reason for the change is to make the Jura profile more accessible to whisky drinkers from all walks of life and to have a more distinctive lineup and style; the Travellers Collection is a good example of this. Here, all whiskies start off in ex-bourbon casks, which forms the foundation of its taste profile, and are then further aged in ex-Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry butts of various ages; 15YO, 20YO, 30YO and 40YO butts to be specific. In this instance, the declared age denotes the age of the sherry that it used to hold.
Seasoned travellers will be quick to point out that the Travellers Collection is already available elsewhere, like Europe, for some time. But those who really know their whisky will also realise that The Road is missing from the lineup and instead, we have The Bay, which like The Paps, features an age statement, which according to Jura is to satisfy our preference for age statement whiskies.
The Lineup, With Official Tasting Notes
The Sound S$85*
The sound alluded to here is one that emanates from the northern strait of Jura, where the Gulf of Corryvreckan, the third-largest whirlpool in the world, resides. The entry-level whisky of the series, The Sound is a No-Age-Statement (NAS) whisky, finished in 15YO PX butts.
Colour Antique gold
Nose Aromas of roasted hazelnuts, orange and maple syrup
Taste Caramel fudge, black forest fruits and milk chocolate
Cask Finish Matured in American White Oak ex-bourbon barrels and enhanced by a sweet finish from hand-selected Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks that previously held 15YO Pedro Ximénez Sherry wines
The Bay (12 YO) S$113*
As the islanders’ lives are intertwined with the sea, the bay represents where they all meet. As mentioned, this bottling replaces The Road because of market preference for aged statement whiskies. The main difference is that The Road is a NAS, finished in 20YO PX butts while the Bay has an age declaration and finished in 15YO PX butts.
Colour Copper gold
Nose Toffee apple
Taste Raisins, fig, ginger spice and soft liquorice
Cask Finish Matured in American White Oak ex-bourbon barrels and enhanced with a warm finish from hand-selected Sherry casks which previously held 15YO Pedro Ximénez Sherry wines.
The Loch S$127*
A tribute to Market Loch, the tributary is the source of water for the distillery. If you’re working your way through a vertical flight, this is the point where you’ll feel the PX influence distinctly more, and where the older PX starts to work its charm. The biggest draw of the Loch for the value hunters is that it features 30YO PX butts.
Colour Mahogany gold
Nose Aromas of treacle cake, baked apple and praline
Taste Black coffee, tropical fruit salad and cracked pepper
Cask Finish Matured in American White Oak ex-bourbon barrels and enhanced by a rich finish from hand-selected Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks that previously held 30YO Pedro Ximénez Sherry wine, from a single estate Jerez bodega
The Paps (19 YO) S$156*
At the heart of Jura are three mountains, namely The Sacred Mountain, The Mountain of the Sound and The Mountain of Gold which make up The Paps of Jura. The other age-statement whisky in the collection, The Paps has been finessed in 40YO ex-PX casks and this one balances both markers of bourbon and sherry very well.
Colour Deep mahogany gold
Nose Powerful aromas of ginger cake, vanilla and balsamic
Taste Spiced pear, fig syrup and roasted walnut
Cask Finish Matured for 19 years in American White Oak ex-bourbon barrels and enhanced by a complex finish from hand-selected Pedro Ximénez Sherry casks that previously held 40YO Pedro Ximénez Sherry wines
While they are all very sound (sorry) whiskies, The Bay and The Paps will be of particular interest to most who will pass by the duty-free stores. Not to sound like an age statement snob, but these two whiskies are particularly interesting on the palate and for the price. But they’re all worth a try at least – Jura is making a pretty strong statement (sorry again) with its new offerings and at fair prices. For the whisky-hungry market that’s always craving for the next best thing, the Travellers Collection will be a pleasant surprise.
*DFS Singapore prices