Alright feeling more confident now. Why? Because we’re talking about Isle of Jura. And because that distillery holds a special place in my heart. And not just due to the buildup of platelets near my left ventricle.
The first whisky I ever really, really loved was Jura Superstition. And while I revisited it later and decided there was better, I still have the nostalgia feels for it.
Which brings us to Isle of Jura Boutique Barrels 1997 Loire Rosé Sparkling Wine Finish. Take the unpeated dram, and age it. Then for a short period of time finish it in Loire Rosé Sparkling Wine barrels.
Loire is a major region in France known for wine production. Also, it happens to be a Unesco World Heritage site. One of the wines that you can buy from the region is a Sparkling Rosé, which in this case was aged in a cask and then that cask found its way to Jura.
What will it do? I have no idea. I’ve had very few sparkling wine cask whiskies, wine casks are odd, and really this could be different as it’s just a finish.
All of that piques my interest. Oh, and the Boutique Barrels are the ones that Jura puts aside for future finish or to be released as single casks.
Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Bottled: August 2013
Cask Finish: Loire Rosé Sparkling Wine
Colour: 7.5YR 6/10
Nose: Cherry, black currant, algae, mint, perfume
Very red fruit forward. Bit tart. Basically what you’d expect from an ex-French wine finish on the nose. Lots of floral and red fruit.
That said the finish doesn’t just beat up on the nice pick from Jura. There’s that mint and vegetal note in it that shows up from the whisky.
Taste: Mushroom, cranberry, mint, raspberry, peach, lemongrass, kiwi
There’s a flavour gang rush right here that comes in strong. Lots of fruit flavours. Lots of changing, interesting flavours.
Frankly, once you get past the earth being a bit out of the place, this is a really nice fruity dram to sip on. Water even brings out these minty notes that you should add to your summer fruit salads.
Finish: Yeast, sunflower, sulfur, cereal, leather
The finish really shows off a cereal forward, burnt element. If the rest was a display of multiple fruits and having fun with wine casks.
The finish, on the other hand, is pure whisky flavour. Some sulfur and maybe the yeast from the wine, but it’s more of that cereal elements.
Conclusion: A fruity winner of the day. This surprised all of us. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed past Jura’s, or specifically Boutique Barrels. Jura has historically been hit or miss for me. I like their peated versions. And this is a finish from a wine cask that could have very well been bad or a gimmick.
Instead, we ended up with a multi-flavoured whisky that hit a lot of good sides. Yes, there are some mushrooms where they shouldn’t be, but those move aside. If you aren’t a sulfur fan then it’s not going to work for you. If you aren’t ready for a bunch of fruit, then it won’t wow you.
However it comes really close to some really nice, high-end whiskies I’ve had. So I’d recommend trying this regardless.
Scotch review #1019, Island review #118, Whisky Network review #1599