Jura 18 Year Old
February 2019

Jura 18 Year Old

Straight from famously “ungetable” Isle of Jura to Australia’s biggest Club of whisky lovers, February 2019 saw the official Australian launch of the massively anticipated new Jura 18 Year Old Single Malt exclusive to The Whisky Club.

United Kingdom

Colour Rosewood gold

Nose Gentle and delightfully elegant with notes of toffee, tropical fruits, dried berries and cinnamon.

Palate Beautifully rich and full-bodied Island malt with black forest fruit, bitter chocolate, coffee and the gentlest touch of smoke.

Finish Long and warming with sour sweet tropical fruit and a touch of chocolate. Say hello to your new favourite whisky.

Food Match Raspberry sorbet and dark salty chocolate.

Overview

It was a significant moment for Jura when the distillery was taken over by Whyte & Mackay because it brought production under the umbrella of Richard Patterson, third-generation master distiller and whisky industry legend. Going by the moniker “The Nose”, Patterson is best known for his work with Dalmore Distillery and creating Whyte & Mackay’s award-winning range of blends, and has been instrumental in turning Jura’s single malts into the sought-after delights they are today.

Isolation and adversity can work together to create a drive unlike any other. In the case of the Diurachs, there’s a belief anything is possible, and they keep proving it. After all, there are plenty of easier places to make whisky. This same spirit goes into their whisky (though not literally) and combines with three key elements to create something truly unique – a whisky that’s sweet yet subtly smoky, balanced and accessible.

The first of these unique elements are Jura’s stills. Some of the tallest in all of Scotland they tower at 7.7m producing a beautifully light, sweet spirit. The second element is the subtle smoke. For just 4 weeks a year Jura makes a rich, oily, heavily peated spirit that when blended with their unpeated spirit gives body and depth and just the faintest hint of smoke. Of course the third element is casks. Jura uses predominantly American White Oak ex-bourbon barrels, along with very high quality ex-sherry and ex-red wine casks to make one of the most enticingly balanced malt whiskies on the market today.

In 2018, in the biggest overhaul of liquid and packaging in the distillery’s history, Jura took a bold move to overhaul their entire core range and replace it with all new expressions tied together by a signature house style.

The brainchild of Jura’s distillery manager Graham Logan, it marks a hugely significant step for Jura: ‘A new house style of whisky is not for the faint hearted but it tells you where we are now and how committed we are to Jura, the community and our whiskies for the long term. Combining two styles of whisky is a fairly unorthodox approach, but one that we know is right for Jura. We can’t wait for people to try and it and see for themselves.’

Well the wait is over because this February we bring you the pinnacle of the new Signature Series, Jura 18 Year Old. Matured in American White Oak and treated to a decadent finish in Premier Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux barrels, adding notes of toffee, berries and bitter chocolate to the rich island malt, topped off with just a touch of refined smoke. While the rest of the range will be on shelves across Australia this year, you won’t see the 18 Year Old until 2020, so we’d recommend doubling up on this beauty to keep you going until then.

WHISKY SPECS

Price: $125.00

Age: 18 Years Old

ABV: 44%

Maturation: 18 years in American White Oak ex-bourbon barrels, finished in Premier Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux barrels

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Jura's History

“Extremely unget-at-able”. This is how George Orwell famously described his attempts to reach the Isle of Jura and amazingly, the island is as awkward to reach today as it was in 1946. The Isle of Jura lies off the west coast of Scotland and is eleven kilometers wide by 48 kilometers long, making it a bit smaller than Cairns. There’s only one road, one pub, one shop and one distillery. It’s believed that Jura takes it’s name from the old viking word “Dhiura” meaning red deer, however, the Vikings weren’t the first people to inhabit Jura. Carbon dating puts some of the earliest settlements on Jura at around 8000bc. Standing stones, ruins and manmade caves dot the landscape serving as a reminder that the island has been inhabited for a very long time.

Whisky making on Jura has a long history. The Duriachs (as inhabitants of Jura are known) enjoyed a long period of unhindered home distillation before this was banned in the Excise Act of the 1781. The islanders, however, thought very little of the ban and many of the estimated 250 pot stills remained active after the imposition, and considering the island’s extreme unget-at-able-ness, it was going to take a very determined excise man to actually enforce the act.

In 1810, seeing a clear demand for whisky, local kingpin Archibald Campbell decided to build a distillery on the Island, initially calling it Small Isles Distillery in reference to the numerous small islands in Craighouse Bay where the distillery is located. Not short of a few bob, the largest landowner on the island created an engineering marvel using only gravity to move liquid between the production areas. Small Isles produced a heavy, smoky whisky similar to those made on neighbouring Islay and took its water from the dark, peaty Loch A-Bhaile Mhargaidh, 300m above Craighouse.

Over time the Campbells, not being experts in whisky production, ran the distillery into the ground and in 1875 they found new professional tenants. Ferguson & Sons Distillers from Glasgow signed a 25-year lease that required them to increase capacity and build and maintain a new pier and a connecting road. In 1900, the Campbells argued with their tenants over the rates on a new lease and the following year Ferguson & Sons ceased production, stripping out all of the production facilities including 4 large copper stills. Things took a turn for the worse when the crumbling distillery’s roof was removed in order to avoid paying tax rates. It is believed that four warehouses still housed whisky until 1938 when the last barrel left the island.

In 1955 Jura’s population had dropped to a dwindling 150 inhabitants (down from over 2000 when the distillery was established in 1810), with the industrial revolution, new frontiers and two world wars among the reasons cited for this mass exodus. In 1958, realising that something had to be done about the dwindling population, two landowners, Tony Riley-Smith and Robin Fletcher, combined their love of whisky and a shared concern for Jura’s declining fortunes and enlisted the architect William Delme-Evans to oversee the rebuilding of Jura distillery. Delme-Evans was so dedicated to the rebuild that he learned to fly a propeller plane and built a small runway near the distillery in order to ease his commute to and from the island. Unfortunately Robin Fletcher passed away before the project was completed and a foundation stone from the 1810 distillery that sits at the entrance of the distillery reads; “This stone from the ruins of the original Jura distillery was laid here by the widow of Robert G Fletcher who with F.A Riley-Smith conceived and instigated the rebuilding of this distillery to provide industry for the island.”

In 1963, the stills at Jura distillery fired up once more and ran with fresh new make spirit. Today, although the population hasn’t returned to the original level, the distillery sits at the heart of the small community and underpins the local economy and environment, not just by providing employment but also via whisky related tourism, attracting over 7000 visitors a year.

Distillery Facts

Region: Islands

Origin: Craighouse, Isle of Jura, Argyllshire, PA60 7XT, Scotland, United Kingdom

Founded: 1810

Water Source: Loch a’ Bhaile-Mhargaidh (Market Loch)

Washbacks: 6, Stainless Steel

Stills: 2 wash and 2 spirit

Capacity: 2,200,000 litres per annum

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