Tag Archives: Justminiatures

Isle of Jura 16-year-old

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):

Jura 16yo 5cl

Linkwood 18-year-old 1989

Bought – Justminiatures, 2nd May 2014

85/100 – Whisky Fun review (July 2008)

My 6th example of Linkwood but also my 2nd by the independent bottler James MacArthur. From reading their website it seems they specialise in cask strength bottles, and some at 43%. Always unchill-filtered and natural colour. Established in 1982 it’s very difficult to find full 70cl bottles by James MacArthur in the UK. They mostly sell abroad. I hunted around on Google for a UK source but only found Justminiatures selling full bottles, which happened to be on sale with 20% off. For future reference (like years from now), this is what I found:

  • £51.99 – Allt-A-Bhainne 1995, 16yo, 54.7%
  • £51.99 – Auchentoshan 1998, 12yo, 62.9%
  • £63.99 – Bruichladdich 1991, 20yo, 51.5%
  • £47.99 – Craigellachie 2000, 11yo, 57.3%
  • £59.99 – Girvan 1989 Single Grain, 22yo, 63%
  • £55.99 – Glen Elgin 1995, 16yo, 56.4%
  • £59.99 – Glen Grant 1992, 19yo, 59.4%
  • £47.99 – Longmorn 1996, 13yo, 56.9%

Apart from the Glen Grant, all the above were listed on the James MacArthur website as their latest products (my Linkwood is old stock). For cask strength whiskies, these are very competitive. It’s a shame that my whisky budget is allocated elsewhere for the next few months. Damn!

Linkwood 18yo 1989 5cl

Finlaggan ‘Old Reserve’

Bought – Justminiatures, 2nd May 2014

85/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 12 reviews)
87/100 – Ralfy, of www.ralfy.com
Review: – Ralfy – Finlaggan (old reserve) – YouTube (May 2010)

This mystery malt is rumoured to be Lagavulin but the staff at Whisky Exchange say this “seems a little unlikely to us”. I have to wonder if this comment prompts two of their reviewers to say they think it’s Caol Ila. One suggests it’s “young-ish Coal Ila” which, given this Finlaggan is NAS and reasonably cheap, ‘young’ is what you’d expect.

With the Lagavulin 16yo costing around £50 and this Finlaggan NAS costing £27, it could potentially be Lagavulin based on the price. At the heart of the Finlaggan is likely to be malt half the age of the Lagavulin 16yo, so why not half the price? If only the world of whisky pricing was that simple.

Assuming I enjoy this Finlaggan, my next choice will be the cask strength version. Although Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible, doesn’t review my 40% bottle he gives the Finlaggan Cask Strength (58%) 94/100, which is an excellent mark. The Caol Ila NAS cask strength (£80+) is over twice the price of the Finlaggan version (c.£38). Likewise the Lagavulin 12yo cask strength (£80+). So, whichever Islay distillery the Finlaggan is based on, the cask strength version shows extremely good value, and the 40% version (the miniature I have) is pretty good for the money too.

Finlaggan Old Reserve NAS 5cl

Isle of Jura ‘Origin’ 10-year-old

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?

Jura 10yo 5cl

Old St Andrews ‘Twilight’ 10-year-old

Bought – Justminiatures, 2nd May 2014

94.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2014

I have to take my hat off to Old St Andrews Limited for producing such interesting containers for their whisky. Not only do they have bottles looking like golf balls but barrels too. Last year I purchased a miniature of their ‘Clubhouse’ version, and the cute little glass ball left me wanting more. The ‘Clubhouse’ is the entry level NAS (non-age statement) blend in the range, which also includes the following 3 with their respective Whisky Bible scores:

  • Twilight (10-year-old) – 94.5/100
  • Fireside (12-year-old) – 88.5/100
  • Nightcap (15-year-old) – 89/100

No need to guess why I bought Twilight, which Jim Murray describes as “lip-smacking Scotch malt whisky as it should be” and “full of invigorating freshness which fills the heart with hope and joy”. Clearly it’s not always about the age that gives a whisky its beauty.

A blend of quality that’s much more than a novelty bottle, but that aspect certainly adds to the presentation. An ideal gift for a golfer who also enjoys the occasional dram.

Old St Andrews 10yo Twilight 70cl

Rebel Yell

Bought – Justminiatures, 13th November 2013

YouTube Review by WhiskyObsession

Who could resist a miniature of Rebel Yell bourbon in a sale for £1.99?! Well certainly not me. I was a bit surprised that it’s not been reviewed in the Whisky Bible, nor has Ralfy or the Whisky Bitch reviewed it on YouTube. I was beginning to think this was a bad sign until I watched Whisky Obsession’s review where he says it’s an excellent bourbon. I’m glad to hear it! This wee bottle brings my small, but growing American collection to 4. I’ve still got Buffalo Trace and Maker’s Mark on my wishlist, so we’ll see what 2014 brings.

It wouldn’t seem right without finishing with a link to Rebel Yell by Billy Idol.

Rebel Yell 5cl

Eleuthera – Compass Box, Vatted Malt

Bought – Justminiatures, 13th November 2013

85/100 – Whisky Bible 2006
87.58/100 – Whiskybase (average from 14 member votes)

This was an impulse buy from Justminiatures because they’d reduced it to £2.99 as an end-of-line item. Compass Box are excellent Scotch whiskymakers, and I’ve enjoyed a bottle of ‘The Spice Tree’ before so I didn’t think £2.99 was much of a risk on another from their range.

When looking on the Compass Box website I was surprised to find that Eleuthera was only in production from 2002 to 2005, so this mini has been kicking around for a minimum of 8 years. This is why I had to dig back to the Whisky Bible 2006 to find a review by Jim Murray. Compass Box say of this whisky on their website:

“Originally available in all our markets, “Eleuthera” was our very first vatted malt. Typically it combined 15 year-old malt whisky from the village of Brora, aged in re-charred hogsheads, with 12 year-old malt from the village of Port Askaig. Jim Murray said of our first release: “Quite simply, one of the most complex and truly magnificent vatted malts of all time. A collector’s piece.” Sadly, when the 15 year-old malt we needed was no longer available aged in re-charred casks, we decided to retire “Eleuthera” rather than overhaul the recipe.”

Sounds good to me! I’m starting to regret only buying the one tiny bottle!

Eleuthera Vatted Malt 5cl

Tomatin 12-year-old

Bought – Justminiatures, 13th November 2013

85.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2013
78/100 – Malt Maniacs (average from 12 reviewers)

The Whisky Bible rating suggests this malt is “good to excellent and definitely worth buying” and 78/100 is a good mark from the Malt Maniacs. Combining these two sources it means you’re unlikely to be disappointed with this Tomatin 12yo. And I love the tall, slender bottle it comes in! This miniature has a glass bottom about 1cm thick which adds something to the style, and a lot more to its strength. Not that I intend to test it by dropping it on a hard surface. Maybe when I’ve drunk it I’ll change my mind with the empty bottle!

Tomatin 12yo 5cl

Nikka Gold & Gold 5cl

Bought – Justminiatures, 13th November 2013

76/100 – Serge Valentin, Whiskyfun.com – tasting notes here

You know how they say you’re never more than 7 connections away from everyone in the world? Well, if you drink Nikka Gold & Gold (G&G), you share a connection with the late, great Orson Welles. The Japanese blend was first released in 1968 and in the 1970s Orson Welles made some adverts for the whisky, such as this one – Nikka G&G 1975 YouTube

Nikka Gold and Gold Japanese 5cl

Tamnavulin 1990

Bought – Justminiatures, 13th November 2013

A discontinued version of Tamnavulin from the Connoisseurs Choice range by Gordon & MacPhail. The ‘Tasting Notes’ for this whisky from the Gordon & MacPhail website says:

AROMA without water

A malty freshness, floral notes, hints of fresh grass, a delicate smoke intertwines and sweetness – marshmallows.

TASTE without water

Soft with a rounded spice, some sweetness, hints of stewed apples.

AROMA with water

Fresher and more fruity, suntle citrus edge – lemons and limes. With a hint of a spice lingering in the background.

TASTE with water

Initially citrus fruit influences – orange rind. A sweetness remains. Well rounded and delicate.

This malt used to be sold at ‘Master of Malt’ where one purchaser gave it a glowing review and 4.5/5 stars. Sounds good to me! 🙂

Tamnavulin 1990 5cl