Isle of Jura Boutique Barrels 1993 Sherry JI Finish (Official Bottling)

54% ABV, £78.65 for 70cl available from The Whisky Exchange

Score 87/100

What they say:

Isle of Jura Boutique Barrels

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The word ‘Boutique’ evokes a small but special space filled with an assortment of fine and beautiful things (clothes, trinkets, whiskies). The kind of things you simply can’t find anywhere else – especially not in a high street chain.

It’s with this ethos in mind that Isle of Jura have named their new series ‘Boutique Barrels’.  The idea was to create a range of very special single malts for whisky enthusiasts, making bespoke single cask bottlings available to consumers without the fuss of fancy packaging to distract from the spirit (a laudable goal if ever there was one).  At the same time, the range gives the distillery the opportunity to show off what their spirit is capable, by making available some of its more special casks, hand-picked over a period of five years by the Master Distiller.

The Isle of Jura Boutique Barrels are all vintage single cask bottlings (rare enough in itself for this distillery), and have been bottled at full strength without chill-filtration – in short, the goal has been to preserve the natural elements of the spirit for whisky aficionados and connoisseurs to appreciate.

The initial selection for the Boutique Barrels range is a trio of single casks from different vintages and maturation styles.

This Jura 1993 is part of the distillery’s ‘Boutique Barrels’ series of single casks, bottled at full cask strength. This ‘Sherry Ji’ edition has been finished in Oloroso sherry butts.

Isle of Jura 1993 Sherry JI

• A sensual delight
• A subtle array of flavours; warm deeply mature and inviting
• A mouth-watering collection of flavours that only an island and a unique Oloroso Sherry cask can bring
• Rich citrus marmalade, crushed almonds, spicy ginger and roasted coffee
THE CASK
• Drawn from the richness of the finest cask to complete this masterpiece
• Matured in American white oak from 1993 until 2002 at the Jura distillery
• Re-racked in 2002 into Oloroso Pasada Sherry Butts from Gonzalez Byass in Spain – which nurtured and tamed this island malt to perfection

What I say:

An interesting Jura expression, purchased because you don’t often come across unusually matured Jura (well no more so than there ambiguous core range and travel exclusives). A distillery that seems to have embraced NAS a long time before it was contentious, and even before it was new and cool. Jura were producing expressions that either gave no age statement or were constructed from mixed aged whiskies – their range was much more based around hitting very different flavour profiles. For their boutique barrel range they seem to have come back to the mainstream wisdom by releasing specific year vintages finished in well-defined casks. I had to go for the Sherry option, there really wasn’t a choice! I find Jura very drinkable in most of their expressions and I love Sherry matured/finished whiskies too. Here’s what we thought…

Colour:

Blood orange ruby

Nose:

Leather, lots of leather and tinges of rubber typical of sherry maturation, toffee, some fruity elements and cocoa or sweetened coffee (Latte or something similar)

Taste:

Warming, smooth, fruity, new and old leather, cocoa and chocolate, nutty almond, hazelnut, plum, fig and prunes

Finish:

Medium/long, sweet, fruity and earthy

Would I buy it:

Hell yes! This is simply delicious, a stunning Jura expression, I was worried about the more than faint rubbery hints on the nose – often evidence that the sherry cask has added sulphuric notes back into the whisky which can be overwhelmingly acrid and distasteful. Not on this occasion however the palate serves up a smorgasbord of flavours I just love and which compliment each other immensely. This is a whisky to sip in an old leather armchair while you munch on some fine nutty chocolate and mull over your dram and a good book after dinner.