Review: Jura Superstition Single Malt Whisky (90.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on September, 2011
The Isle of Jura lies just seven miles wide and is 30 miles long. It apparently has only one road and one hotel, and its population is about 200 people strong. The Distillery (the island has only one), was built at an old smugglers’ cave near the hamlet of Craighouse in 1810. Unfortunately the distillery in those early days led a troubled life, and it soon fell into disrepair and was abandoned. It was not until 153 years later, in 1963, that the distillery was rebuilt by two local businessmen, Robin Fletcher and Tony Riley-Smith who then began to distill their Jura Single Malt Whisky.
According to the Jura Single Malt Whisky website:
Jura is an island wrapped in Superstition with a litany of strange and bewildering customs. It is believed that pouring from this bottle with the Ankh cross in the centre of your palm is a ritual that will bring good health and good fortune.
I received a sample bottle of this spirit for review from the marketing people at Authentic Wine and Spirits . I hope it brings me that good health and fortune the website promises:
In the Bottle 5/5
I mentioned in my review of the Jura 10 Year Old Single Malt that the marketing people in Scotland always seem to be just ahead of us guys in North America. The single malt whiskies always seem to have just that bit of pizzazz in the presentation that sets them apart from the other whisky bottle on my shelf. The Jura Superstition is no exception, the bottle arrives in a classy box, it has a unique shape and is corked as good whisky should be. Even the labeling is professional and exudes a certain class. I especially like the added touch of the Ankh cross on the face of the bottle which is to be held against the palm as you pour it to give you good luck and fortune.
(When I poured a dram for a friend recently, he immediately asked about the ankh cross. I told him about the superstition and our shared dram was in that way combined with shared conversation. (I am pretty sure that was the intended effect.)
In the Glass 9/10
The colour of the whisky in the glass is a nice copper with an obvious orange tincture when held up to the light. When I tilted my glass and gave it a slow swirl I noticed the whisky imparted long slender legs which ran quickly back into whisky.
I immediately noticed rich scents and aromas climbing out of the glass to greet my nose. If I closed my eyes and held the glencairn under my nose I could imagine I was in an evergreen forest with damp moss covering the ground. A boggy meadow must be nearby as I smell the damp peat under the meadow grass, with lush ferns and willow bushes clinging to its edges. Saw grass and timothy are growing in the meadow with summer flowers just beginning to bloom.Sweet malted barley smells have wafted in from beyond the forest and light scents of marmalade, vanilla and baking spices have drifted in. I find the overall effect to be marvelous.
In the Glass 54/60
The initial sip from the glass brings me sweet butterscotch which is combined with a lush organic peat filled with floral character. The peat tastes lightly boggy with flavours of heather and lavender. It also carries a light woodsy character. Sweet malty flavours are brought forward and this sweetness acts perfectly to accent the earthy flavour of the peat. In some ways this is like a smorgasbord for the mouth. I taste smoky dry fruit (prunes dates and raisins); I taste baked apples and pears; I taste tinges of cinnamon and baking spices; and I taste a light but firm oakiness. Everything is in balance in a whisky which I must admit delights me.
I even missed a few flavours the first time round which I caught in subsequent tasting sessions, dried apricots, marmalade, and a lovely scattering of tea leaves that add to the character of the whisky and this pleases me even more.
In the Throat 13.5/15
The finish is nice with organic peat and sherry smoke mingling with the sweet butterscotch. I feel a creeping warmth in my throat which has more to do with the oak spices in the whisky than any sort of burn, and down in my throat where I am not supposed to be able to taste anything, I swear some Orange Pekoe tea is leaving a final mark.
The Afterburn 9/10
I like this whisky! I like how the light butterscotch sweetness works in conjunction with the light peatiness and forms a partnership rather than a rivalry. I like how the peat carries other flavours within and about it, and never tries to dominate the whisky. I like how the bitter flavour components are tempered by the sweeter flavour components and nothing ever gets cloying or old. I think I will pour another dram into my glass, (making sure I keep the Ankh cross in the centre of my palm), and toast the good luck and fortune that brought this whisky to my doorstep.
You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)