The Jura distillery is located on the isle of Jura, which lies off the west coast of Scotland. The island's closest neighbour is the famous whisky island of Islay and they are seperated by a narrow, fast flowing stretch of water called the 'Sound of Islay'. The distillery was founded in 1810 and is quite large (2 million litres per year) considering its remoteness and the small population of the island (currently 220 people). Current owners, Whyte & Mackay, use the whisky produced there in their popular range of blended whiskies but are also putting more time in to promoting Jura as a single malt whisky. This has seen sales improve greatly in the last two years and as a result they continue to expand the core range. Currently they release a 10, 16, 18 and 21 years old plus the 'Superstition', which is an unaged smoky whisky. Jura is also popular with the independent bottling companies with numerous different ages and casks available.
Having first tried this at the Distil 2008 trade show last year, I got the opportunity to taste this Jura 16 years old again. The colour is golden and the nose is very promising. A malted barley sweetness hits you with a dried fruitiness and a whiff of earthy smokiness coming through. The whisky feels creamy in your mouth but is not rich. Instead it is light with the malted barley sweetness prominent again. There is a slight saltiness to it and this mingles with the dried fruit again (think of sultanas and raisins), a citrus note (imagine candied peel or zest) and that earthy smoke from the nose (it reminded me of damp moss). The finish sees the sweetness replaced with a drier woody character (think of vanilla) and the saltiness and smokiness particularly noticeable. This is a good whisky that is more rounded, enjoyable and approachable than the younger versions of Jura that I have tried. It would be a good choice for someone who likes a bit of smokiness in their whisky but not too much or as an introduction to the smoky style. A bottle should cost around £40.