Bought: Sainsbury 29th July, 2014
77/100 – Whisky Bible 2014
83/100 – Ralfy, of http://www.ralfy.com
Review: – Ralfy – Isle of Jura 12yo – YouTube
Although Jim Murray’s score of 77/100 in his Whisky Bible might sound quite low, it’s still classified as “average and usually pleasant though sometimes flawed”. Jim’s full review of this whisky states “fruity, spicy and a little sulphury I’m afraid. Those who can’t spot sulphur will love the caramel-fruitcake enormity.” So the ‘flaw’ in this case is Jim Murray’s unfortunate ability to detect sulphur (poor chap!). I certainly can’t and I never want to. Ralfy makes no mention of it, saying it’s a good example of a Jura and better than the Superstition (and definitely better than the 10yo, which he hates!).
Caramel added, chill filtered, and a mere 40% – it’s amazing the Elixir scores so well but it goes to show that these elements, which often get a bashing in reviews, don’t really make a huge difference in marks, even from the connoisseurs. Basically, if the underlying whisky is good, it’s usually a pleasant dram even if the distillery haven’t put the icing on the cake with natural colour, non-filtration, and extra strength.The distilleries can if they want but sometimes they choose not to so they can charge more per bottle when they do! For doing less they charge more – yes, that sounds like the world of business to me! 🙂
Bought – Justminiatures, 2nd May 2014
90.5/100 – Whisky Bible (2014)
82.29/100 – Whiskybase (average from 162 member votes)
In the Whisky Bible 2009 the Jura 16yo scored 80/100. And back in 2006 it was only really the older Jura bottlings (21 years and over) that scored in the 90s. Since then the Isle of Jura distillery has dragged itself into the 21st century with the Elements range, Superstition, Prophecy and Elixir. All rather pretentious-sounding but they’re not the only ones in the whisky world to do this. It’s the modern way of making whisky sound more alluring.
It wasn’t many years ago that Jura were a budget malt where there wasn’t much difference in price between their standard release and a supermarket’s own range of malts. Clearly Jura have started to turn this around. The Whisky Bible 2014 gives the Jura Elements, ‘Earth’ and ‘Fire’ scores of 89/100 and 86.5/100 respectively, and the Prophecy scores 90.5/100. The quality is now there in their range, and with the standard 10-year-old also improving, prices have started to creep up. Nevertheless Jura still offers reasonable value for money (for now!). But they need to justify this by ensuring the new improved quality is maintained.
Here’s Jo of Whisky Wednesday with his review on You Tube (June 2014):
Bought – Justminiatures, 2nd May 2014
79.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2014
Although Ralfy (of www.ralfy.com) hasn’t reviewed the 10yo Jura, and probably never will, he does discuss it in his review of the 18yo version here. His view is that Jura whisky gets better with age, and that 10yo is simply too young. Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible has very little to say about the 10yo, concluding with “still miles short of where you might hope it to be”. His rating of 79.5/100 is “average and usually pleasant though sometimes flawed”.
Given how frequently the Jura 10yo is discounted in the supermarkets from a low price to something even lower, it’s understandable that this malt has as reputation for being cheap and cheerful. Saying that, we’re all individuals and BeerGogglesReviews really enjoys the 10yo in his YouTube review here. The 10yo also gets reasonably good marks from the Malt Maniacs, which leaves me wanting to try it. Which side of the fence will I find myself sitting on? And what about you?
Bought – Tesco, 30th July 2013
73.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
85/100 – Ralfy – His review on YouTube (June 2014)
Clearly this isn’t one of Jim Murray’s favourites but, just to prove that different people have different opinions, the writer of Malt Madness gave this 81/100. Normally they are very hard to please but they said of the Superstition “wow, this expression has improved tremendously in recent years. Great job, Jurians!” With such different views I’m looking forward to squeezing in a taste in the not-too-distant future.
Update (Feb 2015) – Added Ralfy’s rating and vlog link.