Thursday, 21 August 2014

Jura - Prophecy - Review

When I first got into the world of whisky I used to look upon other enthusiasts with a little playful envy as social media feeds were often updated with the latest "whisky fairy" delivery of a sample unknown, or some new release previously unseen, and frequently I found myself thinking "will I ever have a mass of samples to look upon?"  

Fast forward about 3 years and now, here I am, slowly amassing my own little collection of sample bottles, and as my whisky blogging continues to grow I hope the collection shall grow with it and then also, in turn, diminish as I send them off to other grateful recipients and so the cycle will continue.

So, what better way to move the blog onward by dipping into one of these samples that I have gratefully received.  As I made my way over to the bookcase, where my collection rests, I simply reached out to the nearest bottle and as I picked it up I was quietly excited to read the label "Jura - Prophecy - 46%"

Jura "Prophecy"
Jura is a distillery I've had some previous experience of, and like most island whiskies I'm rarely disappointed, but the "Prophecy" expression is not one I had encountered before (hence the quiet excitement).  Made from a selection of "old and rare" Jura whiskies this expression is "heavily peated" and matured in Limousin French Oak.  As I've already stated it's bottled at 46% and without chill filtration but I do believe, from various research, that colour has been added.

Like the rest of the core range, this Jura is reasonably easy to get hold of and can sometimes be picked up at a very good price, around Christmas and father's day, so keep your eyes peeled because I think, after having a good taste, that this is a bottle worth getting.  

And on that note, onto my tasting:

Nose - Starts off with little touches of white fruit but that quickly makes way and the peat influence takes over.  This isn't as earthy as most Islay whiskies but more dry fire smoke, specifically peat + wood fire.  Toasted oats and tropical fruit come through with emphasis on banana and pineapple and after about 5 minutes or so the smoke balances out with the fruit almost perfectly.  With a little drop of water the smoke eases and allows a tangy, citrus, perfumed lemon note to appear and after some time a strange sense of creamed rice also shows itself.  That is a new one on me.

Palate - Steady sweet arrival that builds into a heady mix of smoke and peppery spice.  On a second taste the arrival has little nuances of green apple and honey along with other fresh fruits but when the smoke appears it's heavy, intoxicating and very good.  The smoke effect is still most definitely dry smoke and not earthy in the slightest.  The pepper, and now some chilli, remain throughout but never dominate in the slightest and are certainly not harsh.

Finish - In fairness it's a tad lacking in depth but is of good length with more green apple, this time sour, and more smoke.

Jura distillery
Overall this is a impressive whisky that has enjoyed the addition of peat whilst still retaining it's original island character.  It's also extremely well balanced and I would have no hesitation in recommending this to anyone.  With that in mind though, if I had to find any fault then the "Prophecy" could maybe do with another layer or two of depth and complexity but I say this in the knowledge that I really am being overly picky.  This truly is a very good whisky.

Well there you go, another fine whisky sampled and another review posted.  

In the coming weeks I hope to push myself on and jazz things up a bit by heading out into the wider world to bring you all a few updates with the focus on some excellent Irish whiskey destinations, but I shall also be keeping things ticking over by continuing through my army of samples, so stay tuned.

All that's left to say is a massive thank you to Jamie for the awesome sample.  The favour shall be returned.

Until next time,



Monday, 18 August 2014

Linkwood - 18 year old - - Review

Well hello there!!

Those of you who follow my posts regularly will have no doubt noticed that the updates have been a little bit few and far between recently, and for that I do apologise, but powers beyond my control have had me a touch busy over the last 6 weeks or so.

Not to worry though, time is back on my side again and I'm firmly back on the whisky trail, exploring my way through this dramtastic world and bringing it all to you in true Whiskey_Belfast blog update style.

To kick things off I'm heading back to an area visited a couple of months ago and as you have obviously noticed, from the title, I'm back at a bottling.  For those of you not familiar with this website please take a look at the previous update by clicking here and this should get you all up to speed.

This time around I shall be enjoying the delights of Linkwood Distillery.

Based in Elgin, Speyside, and built in 1821, this distillery has enjoyed a rather unnoticed history.  A few closures and even fewer official releases have resigned this dram to the long list of "blend fillers" and this could be where it gathers the majority of any fame it has, as it's most noticeably used in the make up of Johnnie Walker.

Linkwood Distillery
In 2008, current owners, Diageo allowed some scope by releasing some aged stock but it remains to be seen what the future holds for this distillery.

Taking all that into consideration don't be fooled into thinking that this whisky is anything less than decent.  In fairness I have no experience of this dram but was pleasantly surprised by what I found when sampling this offering bottled by  

As with all bottlings this has had only basic filtration to remove large lumps of cask and there's obviously no colour added.  This particular bottling was distilled in 1995 and bottled in 2013 at a strength of 51.2%.

Nose - Not your typical sherried Speysider.  White fruit, green apple, grapefruit, lemon drops, grainy biscuit.  Can sense the 51.2% with peppery heat.  A slight green / herbal note appears to give the whole experience a great freshness to it.  Just hiding, in the background, is a old wood note but it's so subtle that you could easily miss it.  With water the biscuit and grain becomes more obvious.

Palate - WOW!!  That is hot!!  Fighting through the heat an intense zing comes through.  As the alcohol settles the fruit comes back.  More lemon, nice dusty aged notes hiding within green apple.  Sour apple sweets, sweet malt, very juicy and not drying.  With water this dram becomes unbelievably balanced working it's way between age, fruit and malt.

Finish - Good length and still fruity.

Overall this is one highly enjoyable glass of whisky and one that you could spend an age with.  As with each bottling I've tried there is always a string alcoholic nip that undoubtedly comes from the presentation but when you allow them to settle and give them time and respect the whisky experience is utterly rewarding.

Well that's me back and stayed tuned as the updates shall be coming thick and fast....I've certainly plenty of drams to keep me busy.

All that's left is for me to give a HUGE shout of thanks to @MashtunandMeow who kindly supplied me with this fine sample.  If you happen to be on Twitter then I highly recommend you check them out for some excellent views on food, beer and fine spirits....with an occasional cat thrown in for good measure!!  Cheers guys!!

Until next time,