Towards the tail end of 2012 posh fine wine and spirits merchant Berry Brothers & Rudd (they bottled our Whiskey Bible 2013 triumphant Macduff 2000) launched two 1976 single cask expressions from the Isle of Jura Distillery. Now, BBR has quite a lot of experience selecting jolly good whiskey and have spent very many years tending their specially chosen casks. In fact it is the oldest wine and spirit merchant in the country having traded from the same shop in the very heart of London since 1698.
Isle of Jura Distillery is quite old too having been established in 1810 on the Isle of Jura off the west coast of Scotland, its remoteness requiring something of a super-pilgrimage on the part of Scotch distillery aficionados. It was rebuilt in 1963 and with the able assistance of its enthusiastic admirers will celebrate its second 50th anniversary with music, much merriment and even a whiskey master class at sea during the very imminent 2013 Islay Whiskey Festival.
Isle of Jura is rarely bottled by independents, in recent memory only a Jura 20 Year Old Douglas Laing (£142.99 £119.16 ex VAT) springs to mind. This pair from Berry’s are, amazingly, twin casks #888 & #889 both ex-sherry hogsheads which incidentally are the most expensive Berry’s Own bottlings we’ve ever seen. Here is a rare opportunity to compare and contrast two posh and seemingly very similar whiskies. Let’s give them a whirl….
Jura 35 Year Old / 1976 / 55.1% Cask #889
Nose: Plum jam, sweet sherry, oak, leaf tobacco, dried fruit, waxed lemon peel.
Palate: Melted butter, plums, black treacle, cinnamon, nutmeg, oak, ash. Tobacco and leather leading to a warm & spicy dry finish. Outstanding!
Jura 35 Year Old / 1976 / 53.5% Cask #888
Nose: Very shy compared with its sibling, some sweet sherry, raisins, mocha coffee, damp musky warehouse, lavender and beeswax.
Palate: Quite waxy and oaky, lots of leather and tobacco, the finish is sweet yet dry with shortbread and cinnamon stick.
Thanks to @berrybrosrudd for the samples.