A road best less travelled

Taste Review 25 – Jura Journey

This review has been a long time coming. Indeed, it was one I wanted to do right at the start of my ‘Journey’ (pun intended) with Scotty’s Drams, but felt entirely uncomfortable with it, as I knew what I wanted to say, but didn’t know exactly how to say it. To be honest, it’s been a long and arduous challenge for my mind to come up with what I present to you today.

the distillery

I hope you appreciate my words, and digest them carefully, as this has been the easiest, yet hardest review to write so far. You’ll soon see why.

Let’s get down to business. The island of Jura sits just to the north of that famous whisky isle / region of Islay. You can reach Jura by ferry from Islay, not too far away from Caol Ila distillery at Port Askaig. The main feature of Jura is a small collection of hills known as the ‘Paps of Jura’ on account of their shape. Pap is a Scottish slang term relating to a part of the female anatomy. The ferry journey is very short, so those of you who don’t have sea legs needn’t worry. There is only one distillery on Jura, and it is in the small village of Craighouse, on the east coast of the island.

the dram

Region

Highland

Age

Jura Journey is non-age statement

Strength

40% a.b.v

Colour

Amber Gold

Nose

Honey, barley sugar, slight smoke, black currants

Palate

Soft arrival, watery, no real mouthfeel. Vanilla fudge, a wee bit of smoke. Disappointment abounds.

Finish

Short but sort of lingers. It ends in black currants in the end. Like Ribena, which is a soft drink in the UK. Something it has in common with Jura Journey, which can almost be classified as a soft drink.

my 35CL bottle

Conclusion

Winston Churchill once said “Diplomacy is the ability to tell a person to go to hell in such a way that they will be looking forward to the journey”.

This isn’t a Journey to look forward to. I’ve tried to be diplomatic about this dram, but my keyboard kept defaulting to ‘rant’ setting, and therefore I have abandoned diplomacy. This is dram you may well struggle to enjoy.

If you are thinking of going for a ‘Journey’ of discovery with this whisky, abort the trip and pour yourself some Laphroaig. You’ll thank me for it. This Jura isn’t so much of a journey but the road to hell.

This whisky is the reason why I decided to keep Scotty’s Drams independent, and wouldn’t have to modify my reviews on account of being in somebody’s pocket. I don’t rely on being provided samples, all are bought with one or two gifts on the way.

This whisky was a present, but when it was opened, me and the gift giver decided the same thing – it was so insipid that it was as though we weren’t drinking a dram at all, or it had been flooded with water even though both of us had it neat. After a nip each, it was put away, but I thought I’d give it time to see if it improved in my mind. We soon moved on to better stuff.

Coming back to it a couple of years later (yeah, I know!!!) my view of it hasn’t changed. It is terrible. There is no real character to it at all, which given the big guns behind this is a big surprise. Perhaps Richard Patterson had his day off when that recipe was concocted, and upon his return made the trainee stick to it, so he could learn from the poor reviews when you make a dud dram. You’d learn quickly.

Jura has made some lovely whisky in its time, the 10 year old is a decent (but not great) dram, but I’m wary of NAS Jura, and this has confirmed my prejudice. I’d wouldn’t even use this for cleaning drains due to its lack of strength. It’s a training whisky at best, only so you know what disappointment is like. I may use it as a cooking whisky, or for visitors I don’t like.

There are two good things about it, the first being that if you are given it, you’ll know one of 5 things about your friend

⁃ They know nothing about whisky

⁃ They are on a budget

⁃ They have no sense of smell or taste

⁃ They don’t really like you

⁃ Possibly a combination of the above.

The second good thing? I lied. I couldn’t find another good thing.

It’s not even that cheap, it gives an experience of a lower price point than it actually is. On a technical note, this seems to be really young whisky, which with a lack of cask influence is not showing the distillery character in a good light, which is a shame. There are good Jura Drams out there. Just not this one.

If you don’t believe me, research on the internet, YouTube (other websites are available) is the best one to see what other whiskyphiles think of it. That is the other reason I waited so long to review.

it’s about the same thing – really

To be honest, had I paid for this, I would have felt violated. I enjoyed the Haig Clubman a lot more, and it’s cheaper. Jura Journey can be bought online for around £30 or £35 at Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s at the time of writing, but if you want my honest opinion, this is over priced. Tesco’s are selling the 35CL bottles at £12 on offer at the moment. That’s the price I would pay just as a cheap way of trying a poor whisky without breaking the bank.

Whatever you do, don’t ask for this at a specialist whisky shop. You’ll be correctly identified as a moron.

I’m away to rinse my mouth with Famous Grouse. At least that has flavour of some sort and is also cheaper than Jura Journey.

Slainte Mhath!


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Photo credits
  • Jura distillery – Gordon Brown / Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Road to Hell – john3corrigan.com