1997 Isle Of Jura 17 y.o. (Samaroli)
A whisky from the Secret Spirits Advent Calendar First Edition.
Now here’s a bit of a fun one.
It’s a rare occasion I come across independently bottled single cask releases of Jura. There was a rather spectacular Douglas Laing 25 y.o. I tried on Islay a couple years back. And I think maybe an SMWS release or two, but not many other Indie Juras make it our way. Surprising, really, when one considers the volume the distillery produces (a couple million litres per annum), and how much ends up blended away. You’d think more casks would wind up in the hands of private enterprise.
Leaving that aside, what we find in this particular Hebridean malt is a character quite apart from what I normally find in Jura. I suppose if you really concentrate, you’ll pick up on some of the familial lineage, but the hallmarks that normally announce this whisky loud and clear are instead here a mere whisper. And that is saying something, as I find Jura, as a rule, to have a very pronounced and singular profile. The salinity throughout and a touch of nuttiness on the palate are the only hints at which distillery this really is. If tasted blind, I may have guessed. But then again…I may not have.
Further…it’s nice to see Jura mature and pure. Older than most of their releases and dressed in none of the wine cask adornment they seem so fond of. Lest you think I’m slagging Jura here, think again. I have a real soft spot for this distillery, and am probably somewhat over-forgiving, if anything. I like their malts and…if I’m being honest…their entire raison d’être.
I’ve said it before, and likely will again…these unpredictable l’il beauts are what make whisky fun. They keep us (or me, at least) on our toes and allow every bottle purchased to hold a little bit of anticipation.
Nose: NEVER would I peg this as a Jura. Roman nougat. Cookie dough. Soft white cake. Marzipan. A slight saline edge too, almost like Play Dough. Some ginger and pepper. A wee splash of OJ. Just the vaguest hint of smoke. Kinda putty-ish. A very ‘dull’ nose…and I don’t mean that in a bad way, believe it or not. Just no sharp edges. Simple, soft and pleasant home-y notes. Very pleasant.
Palate: More of that almond note and still getting the white gooey Roman Nougat flavours. Salt water taffee. Dried orange fruit. Hint of peach. Finally some of those Jura walnutty/chestnut notes I expected.
Thoughts: Very atypical of Jura. Very cool. If the nose had been a little more aligned with the palate we’d have scored higher.
Bonus: My mate, Jonathan, and I are gonna blog on these drams side by side through the season. Here’s a link to his notes on the same whisky at SingleMalting.com.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt