Christmas Countdown 2020 #1: Chapter 7 Isle of Jura 21 Year (1998)
Bottler: A Whisky Anthology – Monologue
Age: 21 Year. Bottled in 1998.
ABV: 55.1% Cask Strength
Color: 0.2, Pale Straw.
Nose: (according to the wife) It’s really stinky. It smells like kombucha, earthy and stinky and weird.
Palate: At full strength, it’s quite hot in a way that is more than just being cask strength. It’s an oddly youthful heat. There’s a bit of a bite to it, it’s earthy and herbal with an almost-fruity, almost-bread-y element to it. I’m not exactly what it is. One thing is for sure, there is a particularly sharp note of very cheap leather. With some water, the heat doesn’t particularly subside. It lacks any form of complexity, just tastes of that weird nearly fruity, nearly bread-y note. With much more water, the heat does subside but it turns into basically sugary water by the time it does.
Finish: It’s plasticky and leaves behind that cheap leather note. Thankfully it is short on the tongue.
Conclusion: I’ve only heard stories of Jura and how it has gotten it’s reputation for being, to put it diplomatically, less than sought after. I figured that these stories were likely a tad exaggerated. Unfortunately, I don’t think they were. While this definitely may be the case of an independent bottling gone wrong (this particular bottling has a pretty good score on WhiskyBase but I’m struggling to see it), a sample gone wrong, or my palate being off wack, this whisky was not for me in the slightest. Let’s put aside the fact that if I were served this blind, I would almost certainly guess that it was barely old enough to be called whisky given it’s lack of color and how much youthful heat there is. The nose is quite stinky and off-putting. I keep finding this really off-putting note of cheap leather. When water gets added, instead of opening up the whisky to show off some complexity, it gets simpler and eventually turns to sugar water. It’s an oddball and an oddball I think that I’ll keep away from my liquor cabinet going forward.
Final Score: 55.
Scotch Whisky Review #227, Island Review #33, Whisky Network Review #343
- 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
- 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
- 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
- 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
- 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
- 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
- 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
- Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.