Isle of Jura 17 1997 Samaroli / Isle of Jura 1989 Signatory Vintage

Everyone has an “odd”, “cringey”, or “against the grain” idea. You enjoy Five Finger Death Punch. Or maybe you really do enjoy Newsroom past the first episode rant. Or potentially you are really excited for the new Saved by the Bell, or Peppermint Ice Cream, or you really do like Pumpkin Spice Lattes, or Inuyasha is your jam or didn’t mind the majority of the X-men films.

And if you do, awesome. I fit into at least one of those groups. We all probably do on some level. Enjoy it, have fun, don’t give Bryan Singer anymore money since he’s rapey as fuck, but otherwise have a good one.

Isle of Jura is one of my whiskey “cringe” enjoyments. I got into peated whisky because of Superstition. I’ve had many that I’ve really enjoyed. Most of them are the peated ones, or the cask strength IBs.

So today we have two IBs that have picked out casks from the Isle of Jura. I’ll admit Jura has let me down a time or two. I won’t ignore the cringey parts of my dirty, beautiful whisky fantasy.

So let’s see how these taste, shall we?

Thanks to /u/georgejessel for the following dram.

Isle of Jura 17 1997 Samaroli

Price: € 110

Region: Island

Vintage: 1997

Bottled: 04.2014

No. of Bottles: 256

Cask Number: 9118-9119

Abv: 43%

Colour: 5Y 7/10

Nose: Honey, peach pulp, pine sap, musty

Alright, I’m digging the honey. The peach feels a bit manufactured and kinda not fresh, but it’s there, so that’s something. Balances out that with some musty/dust notes. I don’t mind it, though it’s a bit simple and blah.

Like how pine sap isn’t as sweet as maple syrup. Or really anything, if we’re being honest, stop liking pines, it’s not worth it.

Taste: Floral, brown sugar, hazelnut, brine/salty nuts

Alright, building a bit of floral and some brown sugar, bit of hazelnut, and some nuttiness. Really gotta scrape the bottom here for the notes. And I know what you’re thinking: I don’t taste things with my bottom, what is TOModera talking about?

It’s pretty watery is what I’m saying.

Finish: Floral, plum, earth, white sugar

Sweet. It ends just with a strong, unbalanced, uncomplicated “sweet” note. Nothing else really lingers, the rest is some floral and plum blah. Nothing “ew” or “icky” but nothing other than a watery, sad dearth.

Conclusion: A honey and floral blah. I have to say, in looking up the stats on this whisky (after the fact) I found that the first cask has been released what seems like two other times and then the remaining mixed with it’s sister cask, and it’s bringing down the whole family.

This just didn’t work. I really doubt it’s the alcohol here, it’s just not working. Sure, it’s not terrible. It’s not rough. There’s nothing “rough” about this. There’s also very little “about” this as well. You almost have to ask if they considered dumping it back into the still or releasing it.

The taste was okay, what little I could pick up. I’m torn on bonus points for that or not. I don’t know, it was just a letdown, so skip if you see this.


Isle of Jura 24 1989 Signatory Vintage Cask Strength Collection

Price: € 128

Region: Island

Vintage: 17.12.1989

Bottled: 16.01.2014

Cask Type: Ex-Bourbon Barrel

Cask Number: 30744

No. of bottles: 141

Abv: 57.1%

Colour: 7.5Y 7/6

Nose: Buttery caramel, lemon, smoke, barnyard, cocoa

Big hit of caramel right off the top. That subsides to some simpler peat forward notes: Smoke, farmy, and some cocoa. It’s nose like it’s about 8 to 10 years younger. There’s still a good amount of that smokey-peat influence.

Taste: Peat, brine, anise, butter, melon

Here, again, we see more of the peat take over. Salty peat, some spice, some butter, some melon. And again, I like peat: Just kinda want a bit more out of a 24-year-old dram.

Finish: Lemon, peat, brine, graham cracker, vegetal, lemon-lime soda

Hey, there’s a bit more. Seems to be a trend with these Juras: More complex finish than anything else. More earth, more developed sugar/cereal, and more of the acidity/peat from before. Skirts the line this time, only feels about 4 years younger than the age statement would denote.

Conclusion: Nice developed peat, but not really living up to the age. Which I’m torn about.

Blind, I’d be fine with this as a stronger, nice young peated whisky. A cask strength version of Superstition or even a 12-year-old peated whisky from another distillery. I’d be more than happy with that.

And so that’s what I’d score it. The fact that they left it the extra time to get to here is too bad for the producer and IB: It tastes young, it’s young peat, and has a decent amount of flavours while keeping that youthful smoke. It hasn’t developed into spice or too much cocoa like similarly aged peated malts.

So try before you buy.


Scotch review #1332-3, Island review #145-6, Whisky Network review #1997-8

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