Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Jura Prophecy melds frangrant sweet with heat and peat.
Jura is the island jutting out like a peninsula between the Scottish mainland and the island of Islay. It has a tiny population of 200 souls. Whisky distillation, which had ceased at the turn of the 20th century, was resurrected in 1963 to provide an economic focus for the island. This account and the development of the bottlings is admirably described on Malt Madness: http://www.maltmadness.com/whisky/jura.html
Gal Granov recently posted a lovely and loving depiction and travelogue of his experience visiting the distillery at Jura:
Today I'll be tasting a sample of Jura Prophecy obtained from Master of Malt. Prophecy is the top of the line of the regular editions. It is a mature and heavily peated expression (as opposed to the more lightly peated "Superstition" expression). Jura's "house" flavor signature, particularly as seen in the 10 and 16 year expressions is sweet with citrus and fruit flavors and a bit of the sea. I'll be curious to see how peat sits with that flavor signature.
So, what's up with the name "Prophecy"?
From the Jura web site:
"In the early 1700’s the Campbells of Jura evicted a wise old seer. Bristling with resentment, she prophesised that the last Campbell to leave the island would be one-eyed with his belongings carried in a cart drawn by a lone white horse. Over time the story became legend and the prophecy drifted from memory. Until 1938, when Charles Campbell, blind in one eye from the Great War, fell on hard times and led his white horse to the old pier for the last time."
Truth? Fiction? Who cares? It's fun.
Some more pertinent information about this expression is found on Ruben's WhiskyNotes (There's a lively debate about caramel color in the comments following the post):
"It’s a mixture of casks with different peat levels and peat styles, finished off by a 1989 oloroso sherry butt from Gonzalez Byass. It’s non-chill-filtered but coloured with caramel, I’m afraid."
Color: coppery amber.
Nose: Fruity notes (wine gums), citrus, pear, putty, honeyed malt, slight iodine, and distant smoke. Peat and fruity eaters all over this nose. Literally makes me drool.
Entry with a lovely light honeyed toffee sweetness and a whiff of roses. The mouth feel is creamy and silky. The mid-palate blooms with some spice heat (I think this is the cinnamon many reviewers speak of), well-done stewed peaches and caramel and a bit of the sea. Then at the turn an ash note appears and you sense the peat. This peaty flavor builds as you sip, growing from a mild, scarcely noticeable influence to a clear tar and ash peat flavor profile.
A drop of water makes the nose a tad less intense but works to make the jammy sweetness hold into mid-palate and it also makes the heat and peat tar flavors pop. Sweet then heat then tar and ash - I like it.
I was just rocking to a very similar flavor profile last week with Amrut Fusion. So I poured a dram of Fusion and put them head to head. Prophecy has more fruits in the nose and more citrus notes in the peachy mid-palate. Amrut's floral entry is comparably sweet and floral, but more focused on vanilla. Amrut also has a cardamom note and more burn in the finish. Amrut has greater amplitude (more vivid flavors, ultimately). Jura has a more refined and complex palate range, with less of the rough edges. Ultimately, despite the many differences in specific tasting points the common ground of sweet floral and toffee entry followed by citrus in the mid-palate, with heat, and peat notes on the back end that were initially hiding is striking. The sweet, then heat, then peat arc is a lovely and unusual progression that they share.
Bottom line Jura Prophecy is delicious. Thanks for bottling at 46% and not chill filtering. This is a clear success.
Like Fusion - high 4 star territory. If I had to choose one over the other I would pick Prophecy by a whisker.