Isle of Jura part II – A spanking NEW 30 year old Jura!
So, I’m pretty excited about this post, and it’s going to be the first time this new whisky from Jura is revealed to the public (you, dear readers). and not just any whisky, but a 30 year old very special whisky it is. But first things first, (if you are very curious, just scroll down a bit ok?)
You are probably wondering why it took me that long two write this 2nd part of my Isle of Jura trip experiences. I am lazy, but not that lazy… The reason I was waiting that long is that I wanted this write-up to accompany my post about the new and exciting isle of Jura bottling that is due very very soon. In case you have not heard about it, don’t be alarmed, as this is the first place you are probably going to hear about that, but certainly not the last. The original reason why I was visiting the island of Jura last march was, to of course get to know the distillery, but also to taste a new and exciting expression on the island, which was then a few months away from release. As these things go, sometime you plan, and things are slower than you foresee them, and one must not hasten things when it comes to whisky of that caliber which needs to be ready to be launched. now that I have So, here goes.
If you remember the first part of my Jura adventure ended with us finishing the distillery tour, and off to a little trip to see the island. We want over to the Jura lodge where the lovely house keeper was preparing our picnic basket with all kinds of home made goodies that looked and smelled amazing. We hopped on the mini bus ready and eager to eat something and see the beauties of the island. now, Willie was talking about some special sample he’s got stashed in his pocket , something we are going to taste, and we were very keen on trying that one! As you can remember that day was a glorious day , sunny and hot in Jura terms but, the few days before were rather wet, so we were deliberating where to settle for this wee picnic, and drams. The standing stone called ‘Camas an Staca’ was a bit too damp for us to sit, so we found a rather dry piece of sand on the beach and settled there for lunch.
At some point Willie brought over a bottle of whisky , and suggested we all have a wee sniff and taste of it. We did use those bulky tumbler glasses with the lovely Jura logo, which are not ideal for sniffing, but were great for the outdoors (you do not want that golden liquid to get spilled on the sand just like that, do you?). The bottle itself, did not very special, but when he poured the contents and began talking about it, and we began sniffing and tasting the liquid, we knew it was not your ordinary Jura.
This was indeed the “new” 30 year old Jura to be released a few months later (and next month!), straight from the cask. The nose was blooming with Tangerines , spice, chocolate, wood and some sea salt. and the mouth, mmmm. waves of orange zest, coconut, and some raisins. the good stuff. Taking my camera out, and enjoying the wonderful scenery and this exquisite dram I shot this photo I am rather fond of :
There you have it, the essence of the Isle of jura. Sea, nature, good whisky. A real magical moment I will be remembering for years to come. no doubt.
I guess I do owe you a bit of Information on the new expression, so here is a bit more official stuff, which can now be made public:
The new expression is called Called the 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.
The iconic Jura bottle is presented in a beautiful display case that opens its doors to showcase the bottle and reveal the story of the whisky. Meticulously detailed, the bottle is in-filled with copper wax, with a matching metal plaque.
Jura ‘Camus an Staca’ will be available for purchase in selected whisky stores across the world from December ( in time for Xmas!) at RRP £350 per 70cl. Not cheap, but I guess Jura lovers and collectors are really the target audience here, and not the average Joe. I bet you are eager to read how it is, so here are my tasting notes, First ever tasting notes of this baby on any whisky blog. So don’t forget where you read it first! this baby is going to be released only in mid December, just in time for Xmas, which is the burning season for all things whisky.
Isle of Jura the Standing Stone ‘Camas an Staca’, 44% ABV , £350
Nose: Starts sweet and creamy, with a hefty amount of Tangerine juice, thick caramel candy, vanilla, wood resin, old library bench wood spice, and a certain exotic fruit touch to it, ripe melon nectar , and a twist of red apple peel. add a sprinkle of sea spray only fitting for an island dram like that, and you get a voluptuous nose. Crisp, sweet, and inviting. This is even sweeter than I remember when first tasting the cask sample. yummy.
Palate : Need to give this some time to caress the palate, as R.Paterson suggests, a second for every year of maturation before you swallow, but I admit I was too eager to swallow this and could barely wait the 30 seconds. So, what do we have here? Those oranges and Tangerines make a big entry here, as well as dark chocolate, with cocoa powder on top. Toffee candy the old style, with a thick feeling to it, sugars, vanilla, spicy and semi sweet cherries, and plenty of sultanas and prunes at the very end, finishing rather spicy and woody. clearly some sherry influence there. the texture is viscous and you would be surprised this is bottled at only 44 % abv as it feels much thicker and fuller on the palate.
Finish : orange peel covered with thick dark chocolate, mixed with sultana, prune and cocoa powder. Long, and rewarding.
so, was it worth waiting that long? I think it was, and these things should not be rushed especially when speaking of those premium whiskies which need to be presented properly. It’s a cracking whisky, and it’s really a pity that not everyone will be able to afford it. I do hope Master of Malt or some other company that bottle whisky by the dram will pick up the glove and allow as many people to have a go at this wonderful stuff. And another word for those who buy it : It’s great, it looks amazing, but it’s also meant to be enjoyed, drunk at special occasions, with good friends, and family, so please do not just collect, do enjoy it, when you think it’s most fitting to. Drink, do not collect, enjoy whisky as it was meant to be enjoyed. OK, enough whisky geekery from me, and now back to Jura.
So you have it. We were stuffed with good food and great whisky, and ready to hit the road once again. Driving through Jura is indeed a magical experience, as the Island is so “empty” of inhabitants. Green pastures and so many Deer, it’s just incredible. At first we were passing a few of them,and saw them from within the bus, then we stopped and took a bit of a walk in the muddy grass, and they just came into a few meter’s range. beautiful beasts, with their antlers, and so many of them, just like cows in other rural places. Extraordinary.
The island is rather small, and it’s easy to go from the sound of Islay to the north in a bit more than an hour, but the drive is well worth it, with nature really pristine and untouched in most places, and the animals all around. lovely, and no wonder G.Orwell chose a cottage on the island as his escape for writing the famous 1984. a truly inspiring place.
And a truly inspiring whisky. It was a blast. Can’t wait to return there for a bit more of that lovely malt, and nature. this time I need to bring over the wife and kids. right?
special thanks to the W&M folks and Rob Bruce for having me and for their hospitality.