Old Juras are getting a little more plentiful on the ground as of late, and I’m more than happy for it. The recent 1977 was really good. The 1976 was great. And this 30 year old Camas An Staca, while not quite in the same league as those two, is certainly a welcome addition to the range.
Don’t expect a vast shearing away from the sort of ‘typical’ Jura profile (i.e. kinda vinous and heavy), but rather expect to see that character softened by time, much like the bourbon-soaked voice of a lounge-y crooner after warming up on a few late night bar tunes (“The Piano Has Been Drinking”, anyone?). What it boils down to is that this whisky is still completely recognizable as a Jura even at 15 or 20 years further on than most folks are used to seeing it.
But that doesn’t really speak to whether or not there’s quality here, does it? Rest easy. This is good whisky.
Generally in reviewing and scoring, we try to remove as much of the subjectivity as we can, while still conceding a little bit of wiggle room for the more intangible aspects of the whisky. This usually gets buried in the ‘balance’ piece of most reviewers’ scores. These intangibles will generally be where a reviewer will add or subtract a point (or more) based on things like how this particular malt fares against previous batches; whether or not it lives up to, or exceeds, the distillery’s usual potential; or any other bit of ‘wow’ that shows a little bit of a variance from the distillery’s norm. In this case we’ll use that little bit of flexibility to simply ratchet it up an extra point or so in recognition of a distillery staying very true to itself while still rewarding the faithful (cause who else but a dedicated Jura enthusiast is dropping this kinda coin?) with something a little beyond what we’ve come to expect from their range (Superstition, Prophecy, Elixir, and other young’uns). Very nice, Jura…very nice.
‘Camas An Staca’ means ‘standing stone’ in Gaelic. This whisky was so named for the biggest of eight standing stones on the Isle of Jura. These stones were laid out in a ceremonial stone circle more than three millennia ago by the island’s early inhabitants in supplication of the spirits. Or so they say.
Nose: Leather and deep worn furniture polish. Spices and lots of ’em (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and the lot). Almond paste on strong dark fruitcake. Dates, prunes and raisins (oh my!). Figgy too. Lemon notes with moist tobacco. A mixed bag of dried fruits meets a dusty sort of nuttiness. Coffee. A hefty sherry influence here, which in Jura often seems kinda ‘wine-y’.
Palate: Surprisingly…and pleasantly…sour. Again with the dark fruitcake notes. The wine-y / sherry note leads the charge though. Very lush at first, but dries up like the Sahara sucking back a rain-tini. Some interesting (albeit almost unidentifiable) fruit notes.
Thoughts: Good whisky. Not as great as some from the ’70s, but lovely nonetheless. Should note…the nose is better than palate throughout though.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt