Original Club – Jura 11 year 58.6%

Our host had a clear theme in mind – to feature different Islands around Scotland. We’ve not explored many whiskies from the Isle of Jura – just Superstition and Turas-Mara. We sampled this whisky blind, without any inkling of what we were trying.

Distiller’s Art with Jura 11 year (2006/2018) 58.6%, Refill Hogshead, bottle 229 of 270

  • Colour – Quite light straw
  • Nose – Sour kumquat, drunken fruit, solvent, volatile, rose petals, country liquor, limoncello, lalima rose, vitamin B complex, santosh sandalwood, unusual and atypical
  • Palate – Tangy, spice and sweet, a narrow palate profile, not evolving, no 2nd or tertiary flavour, peculiar and odd
  • Finish – Burn slightly bitter
  • Water – Made the sweetness very prominent, much more spice, prickly on the mouth and palate

This was a puzzle – it initially came off as almost not like a whisky at all! One speculated it may even be a grain? We overall concluded it likely was not Scottish, maybe one of these experimental whiskies… quite curious.

With the reveal we were surprised. Not at all what we had expected. Which just goes to show that it is good to explore without brand bias or pre-conceived notions.

What else did we explore?

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Douglas Laing’s Island Blend Rock Oyster Cask Strength 57.4%

Our Douglas Laing’s Remarkable Regional Malts explorations continued with the Island blend… this time from the Cask Strength edition.

Rock Oyster Cask Strength 57.4%

  • Nose – Had a similar yoghurt quality, yet with more character and oomph! than the Timorous Beastie, zest of lemon rind, barley, young, mild yet fruity – particularly melon, some smoked sweet bacon or other sweet meats, agave then quite a bit of brine
  • Palate – Nice spice, sweet, skirting on the surface, amazingly balanced, nothing harsh, a hint of pipe tobacco, honey, cherry bokum pickle, ginger, briney
  • Finish – Nice long finish, salted caramel, cinnamon, sawdust, for some too salty on the finish for many
  • Water – Opens up more, removes the edge, salty, adds a dash of cayenne, paprika, makes it smoother

There was a sense that this is from a similar ‘family’ as the Timorous Beastie however also had its unique variation, like siblings.

Many found Rock Oyster just like one would expect from the name, salty raw oysters, the feel of being on a boat, the distinctive pervasive smell of barnacles, a tidal pool of salty whisky.

At cask strength, it is also very deceptive, giving no hint of the power behind its smooth briney swish.

There was a clear divide between those who enjoy salty whiskies and those who do not care for this maritime style.

Here’s what they have to say:

Introducing Douglas Laing’s Rock Oyster Cask Strength; the super-charged partner to the original Rock Oyster bottled at 57.4% ABV. Containing the finest Malt Whiskies from Scotland’s Whisky Islands, including those distilled on Islay, Arran, Orkney and Jura, this Limited Edition delivers a massive amplification of all those coastal qualities from the original Rock Oyster.

Tasting notes:

Anticipate a blast of sea air on the nose and a tempestuously oceanic storm on the palate. Rock Oyster Cask Strength delivers a big peat hit full of Islay phenols, iodine and coal dust, with a shake of pepper softening to a distinct honey sweetness from the Arran casks. The Isle of Jura brings waves of citrus and barley to the mix, and Orkney fetches up some salt from the deep.

Photo: Nikoulina Berg

What were the whisky blends explored?

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Whisky Ladies Scottish Tour – Juras Turas-Mara 42%

After the Glenkinchie Lowland whisky, we next planned to explore a whisky from the Highlands… However Bombay traffic being what it is, our Clynelish had a delayed arrival so we logically moved on to a Highland sub-region – the Islands.

To describe Island whiskies as diverse is a bit of an understatement. Just think – there are some 800 islands scattered around Scotland of which six produce whiskies. The islands of Arran, Mull (Tobermory/Ledaig), Jura, Skye (Talisker), Lewis (Abhain Dearg) and Orkney (Scapa and Highland Park) are home to an equally diverse range of styles.

The Island pick of the night was the Isle of Jura‘s ‘Turas Mara‘ which means ‘Long Journey’ and was launched for travel retail.

Jura Turas Mara

And what did our Whisky Ladies find?

Jura Turas-Mara 42%

  • Nose – Maple, very sweet spice, brown sugar, resin, mint liquor, Christmasy as it opened, vanilla, bubblegum, marshmallow, apple sauce or an apple tart
  • Palate – At first it seemed just light and easy to drink, absolutely no burn, smooth, a bit woodsy, cinnamon sweet spice, raisins, then as we sipped more began to recognize that it has substance, slightly chewy, some deeper elements as it continued to evolve
  • Finish – Some wood, star anise and mint
  • Water – Some thought NOOOOO! Others found it brought out a caramel quality to the sweetness

One by one, those who’d not been terribly impressed by other Jura offerings, confessed they rather liked the Turas-Mara. There was a silky richness and deceptive depth.

When we learned the malt is a mix of Jura whisky matured in Bourbon barrels, Bordeaux wine, Ruby port and Amorrosso sherry casks, we understood why it is a  departure from the standard Jura style. And we approve!

Here’s what the folks over at Jura have to say about their Turas Mara:

  • Nose – Vanilla, coconut and sweet toffee
  • Taste – A sweet and rich whisky with hints of honey, vanilla, succulent black cherries, fleshy grape pulp and juicy raisins

Did we agree? Sure about the nose but not so sure about the succulent, fleshy, juicy elements…

The Whisky Ladies of Mumbai’s Scottish Regional Tour continues…

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Whisky Ladies explore Scottish regions

The whisky map of Scotland tends to be divided into ‘regions’.

Traditionally there were four regions: Highlands, Lowlands, Islay and Campbeltown. The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) then added a 5th region of Speyside – given its prodigious production this seems more than merited!

You may also often hear of an ‘Islands’ sub-region encompassing island distilleries excluding Islay…. Whereas the SWA considers these to be part of the Highlands.

Confused yet?

Glenkinchie, Clynelish, Jura, Cardhu, Ardbeg

When our Whisky Ladies decided to go on a Scottish whisky regional tour, we had to skip Campbeltown as weren’t able to source whiskies from Glen Scotia, Glengyle, and Springbank, however we did our able best to appropriately cover the other regions… including that sneaky little not quite sure if it could be considered a region… Islands!

Whisky Ladies Regional Tour sampled:

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Jura Superstition 43%

Again from our archives, thought I would pull out tasting notes for a whisky from Island of Jura – one of Scotland’s more inaccessible distilleries.

Jura Superstition NAS 43%

  • Colour – Bright gold prompting speculation that it must be either sherry cask or have colour added
  • Nose – Sweet bourbon, bananas, toffee, cherry
  • Palate – Again sweet, jackfruit, leathery, a little harsh with some spice notes, a bit woody
  • Finish – Warm, straight… All thought it must young

The speculations proved correct! We understand the colour is adjusted with caramel and the whisky is a mix of young and aged (apparently up to 21 years) from ex bourbon casks.

Not bad however when bluntly asked “Would you want to stock this?” The honest answer was… probably not… even though it is a rarity in being an eminently affordable whisky.

Don’t get me wrong – it is an affable, slightly brash young whisky and not bad if you calibrate your expectations according.

2014-02-20-Ardbeg,GlenGarioch,Jura

What the Jura folks have to say about Jura Superstition:

Lightly peated with hints of smoke

For all of you taste gurus out there, you may pick out hints of honey and pine, as the balance of peated and unpeated spirits is matured to perfection in ex-Bourbon casks. The finest young and aged (up to 21 years) whiskies go into this mysterious bottle, so there’s a different flavour to explore with every drop.

What others say:

As you can see from the photo, we also sampled the Glen Garioch 1797 Founders Reserve and Ardbeg Corryvreckon the same evening. Alas our poor Jura was out-powered by the others.

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