Tasting Notes: Jura – Journey

Back in 2018, Jura underwent a major rebrand and replaced its entire core range of single malt scotch whiskies. Whilst the hourglass-style bottle remained, gone were the Origin, Prophecy, Diruach’s Own, and Superstition releases, and instead a new troop of five single malts stood: Journey, 10yo, 12yo, Seven Wood, and 18yo.

The Revised Jura Core Range

Whilst previously showcasing polarising flavour profiles in their outgoing core range (from light and fruity whisky to dense, heavily peated drams) each entrant in the revised line-up has sought to follow a single suit and explore Jura’s fruity spirit with a lightly peated backbone – thus completely starting afresh with a newfound house style. In this post we look at that opening gambit to the revitalised roster: Journey.

They say:

JOURNEY

A welcoming single malt whisky that will transport you to the Isle of Jura; light and fruity with a touch of gentle spice

It’s the journey, not the destination that shapes us. The path from our foundation to the revival of our distillery in 1963 has shaped the vibrant character of our tiny island community and the whisky we make.

This perfect marriage of Jura and hand selected American white oak ex bourbon casks results in notes of creamy vanilla, pecan pie and a touch of soft cinnamon and fresh pear. The ideal starting place for exploring our Jura range.

Jura – Journey

The start of this exploration is therefore a non-age statement single malt scotch whisky, having spent its entire life in ex-bourbon casks, to then be bottled at 40% ABV, and destined for stores and supermarkets worldwide. (At the time of writing, a full size bottle carries an RRP £33 but it can regularly be found with discount deals in UK supermarkets).

Jura – Journey

Nose

Very light and sugary. There’s a Danish pastry type smell with a complementary banana/custard note and some gentle sweet baking spice. Barley sugars. Vanilla. Toffee. Werthers Originals. Light lemon and peach. A little oak spice and cinnamon. A touch of the maritime sea spray and the teeniest tiniest bit of smoke (though that’s mainly thanks to the notes on the bottle having stoked the imagination).

Taste

It is light and fruity, but with a little something else. It keeps me guessing. It doesn’t taste just like pineapples, it tastes like barbecued pineapple rings. It doesn’t just taste like pear, it tasted like poached pears. It doesn’t just have a pecan nutty flavour it has a caramelised pecan flavour. Possibly it is the lightly peated smoke notes that are adding to those root malted barley flavours. Oak spice slowly gathers around the tastebuds.

Finish

Sweet with a little black peppery or crystallised ginger spice, and another little bit of smoke. We are talking more of a creme brûlée flavour with its burnt top (including a little bitterness) in relation to the smoke however, rather than chewing on peat bricks.

Verdict

It is called “Journey” and I can get behind the idea that it is intended for someone at the beginning of their malt whisky journey – or indeed a flight of the revamped core range. It is a starter, for sure. It is really approachable. Jura have had a bad rep over the years and the rebrand has certainly helped to turn that around.

The keen eyed may have seen from the pictures below that I received this bottle of Jura Journey as part of a boilermaker gift set paired with Fyne Ale’s signature India Pale Ale: Jarl. This made me enjoy the whisky more than I had done on any previous occasions on its own.

I may be a little blinkered on that though as I have a little history with Fyne Ales. A few years ago I stayed for a week in Inveraray and visited the brewery frequently to essentially make my way through all of their beers. To me, the Jarl is a classic British IPA style beer but with the modern hop bite that brings a big grapefruit flavour and tartness with it. In fact, if I have ever seen it pouring on tap in any pub then I have ordered it without regard for whatever else is available. It’s a “Citra Session Blonde” and I can see that they’ve rebranded recently to emphasise that they are a “farm brewery” – therefore appealing to my preferences even more as it focuses on being rural and away from a factory / industrial style brewery. Drank with the Jura as a “hauf and hauf” or boilermaker, the Jura seems to become even more sweet by comparison but reins in the bitterness of the Jarl. They really are a good complement to one another. The Jura glass that came with the set is an extra bonus – it is really tactile and satisfying to hold – and collectively makes for a great gift set.

Back to tasting the whisky itself and as a summary of the Journey in its own right, I would say that it is definitely at the start of a malt’s voyage into maturity. The words “light” and “little” appear numerous times in the notes above and, as such, make for a very easy drinking whisky. To that end I would put it in the same ball park as Auchentoshan Original or the Glenlivet 1824. By that I mean that it has all the hallmarks of a light and simple single malt, without necessarily bringing with it any bells and whistles. There was a slight bitterness to the finish that didn’t quite agree with me when on its own, but actually, when tried as part of the Boilermaker combo, worked out well. Some may criticise that this whisky therefore as not offering up too much to the discerning drinker, but I would argue that it is not pretending to be anything else either. It is a simple sipper and, to be honest, I have enjoyed every sip.

M

Sample disclosure: I was gifted this whisky / boilermaker set from my family. All notes are intended as an honest, fair, and independent review of the whisky itself, and not as a promotion. Please drink responsibly. Please drink wisely.

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