Isle of Jura, 10 Years, 40% ABV

Color: a rich amber.

Nose: gentle malt with only a hint of smoke, honey and sherry aromas with almost no alcohol.

Palate: soft sherry sweetness and black pepper shares the tongue with honey from the bourbon cask. There is only a soft influence of peat smoke, brine and oiliness usually associated with island whiskies. The malt seems to have a mocha-like influence that I feel most makes this whisky worthy of tasting.

Finish: long, soft honey sweetness dominates an even softer gentle, black peppery sherry spice, which I find to be the greatest lingering flavor on the pleasantly and surprisingly long finish.

Like many distilleries from the islands of Scotland, Jura is generally known for having a peat smoke and brine influence in its expressions. I am admittedly a fan of the distillery and have in my cabinets multiple bottles of the distillery’s products. Among my favorites from Jura are Diurach’s Own, a 16 year old expression that is the first whisky within which I truly appreciated the flavor of chocolate, and a few bottles of an 18 year old expression finished in Grand Cru casks.

With that said, the 10 year old expression disappoints me. It lacks the strength a true whisky enthusiast searches for in a single malt that is anything but either a low cost, bargain whisky or a whisky designed to introduce a novice to a distillery’s line of expressions. I attribute this to the dilution of the whisky to 40% ABV, the minimum required by law for a whisky to still be called whisky. Were this whisky to be bottled at 46% ABV or higher, the flavors, which are quite good, would be amplified, changing this from a decent whiskey to a good whiskey. Adding to my disappointment, the bottle and box make no reference to the classic “no color added, non chill filtered” boast of many pure whiskies, so one must assume color is added.

I suggest drinking this one neat as it really does not have room on the palate for further dilution. In all, worth tasting and a good introduction to island whiskies for a novice given the qualities present, though diluted.