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The original Craighouse distillery on the isle of Jura was created in 1810. After almost a century in operation, the strain of running a business in such a remote area began to have an effect and the distillery finally ceased production in 1901. Over the years that followed, the distillery buildings fell into ruin as all around them, the local population dwindled. Where once over a thousand people made their home on this beautiful island off Scotland’s western coast, there are now less than 200 inhabitants.
Seeking to halt the population decline, landowners Robin Fletcher and Tony Riley-Smith got together in 1963 and decided to bring distillation back to the island. The new Jura distillery was designed by famed architect William Delme-Evans and once in production, the spirit began to establish itself as a household name single malt.
Such was the success of the Jura brand, the announcement earlier this year that the range was to be completely overhauled took many by surprise with fans mourning the loss of Origin, Superstition and Prophecy. For my part, however, the notion of a new take on the Jura spirit was an intriguing one, unconvinced as I was by the previous incarnations.
Replacing Jura ‘Origin’ is a new 10 year old expression, matured in American Oak for 10 years before a period of finishing in Oloroso Sherry casks. Bottled at 40%, it is available in the UK for around £37.
Smell: Caramel & Sherry, Vanilla, Honey, Apple & Cinnamon with an undercurrent of Ash & Smoke.
Taste: Cinnamon sticks, Pepper, Sherry, Caramel, Honey and a touch of Smoke.
Thoughts: Nice to see the new version remain in the same price category as the expression it replaced, though a higher bottling strength would have been a real improvement. Still, for me, this is an improvement on the Jura of old. The addition of subtle smoke and gentle oloroso notes creates an entirely new flavour profile. A bolder, braver Jura, and one that I could maybe begin to get on board with.
*If the whisky reviewed in this article has caught your eye, you can buy it from Master of Malt here. Please be aware that as an affiliate I can be paid a small commission on any purchases you make after following links from my page. The whisky is also available from several other excellent retailers.