Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Review: Isle of Jura Superstition

Isle of Jura - by Rob Woodall

Travel Writer
I bore easily.  But, I don't think I would ever tire of being a travel writer.  I am not a travel writer, but if I were, I am damn sure I would be a good one.  Think of me as the Anthony Bourdain of scotch and world whiskies, instead of featuring excellent cuisine in far off and obscure locales, as seen on Bourdain's entertaining television program: No Reservations, I'd visit Japanese whisky bars, down-and-out Danish liquor stores, up-and-coming whisky distilleries in India, and that piece of rock jutting out into the inhospitable Scottish sea called: Isle of Jura.

Another view of Jura - by Rob Woodall

Isle of Jura
Barren, jagged, windswept, that's Jura.  A 2001 census placed the island population at 188 and I don't hear that it has changed much.  There is one church, store, and hotel, and a distillery. One little settlement: Craighouse.  That's it.  No traffic, subdivisions, light pollution, urban sprawl or other manifestations of modernity.  Just you, the wind, sea, rock and deer.  Ain't that great!  I mean it.  I'd hike all over it, find a spot that no one has visited, settle down, reach for a flask and take a sip as I gaze out to sea.  And what I would sip would be some of the local spirit: Isle of Jura Superstition.

Isle of Jura Superstition Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Nose (undiluted)
Slight peat, a wee smoke and grass clippings. Wet cedar bushes.  Maritime.  Do I see a clipper on the horizon?

Palate (undiluted)
A light bodied scotch serving up smooth tastes of angel hair weight peat, light malt and the gentlest of mint and phenolic compounds.  Lightly smoked kippers.  Do I detect sherry?  Yes.  Very restrained.

Finish (undiluted)
Ginger, camphor enveloped in mild corona cigar smoke.  Becomes a tad medicinal upon repeated sips, but somehow does not prevent me from reaching for more.

General Impressions
This is a no-age-statement single malt and that's ok.  I am not hung up on age statements.  I just care about taste.  The taste of Isle of Jura Superstition is surprisingly not young, cheap or bitter.  No bite, just a caress that leaves you wanting another drink.  Very drinkable.

Flaws? Complaints?
As I mentioned above, it's a tad medicinal on the finish.  Repeat sips will reveal that hospital bandage with heavily scented ointment experience.  It's a minor complaint, and somehow doesn't bother me.  Strangely amuses me actually.

Overall, Isle of Jura Superstition is a very pleasant, no-age-statement, single malt that delivers a light scotch treatment of slight smoke, easy peat and some other maritime flavors.  Just understand that this is not a show-stopper, one of the all-time great malts like Lagavulin and Talisker.  You get what you pay for.  Pay a reasonable price, you get a reasonable malt.  I am not unhappy with my purchase and sure that I would truly enjoy it out in the wilderness, much to the chagrin of my imaginary film and sound crew.

Peer Review
While this single malt is not technically an Islay malt, it is located adjacent to Islay, and so it is no surprise that it enjoys a similar style.  At the same time, Superstition has common flavor characteristics with Talisker, a malt from another island.  Isle of Jura Superstition is much less peaty and smoky than say Lagavulin, Ardbeg and Laphroaig.  It is more like a younger brother to Talisker, or a poor man's Talisker.  A faint, wispy malt sprinkled with peat and smoke (instead of being heavily laden as the case with many Islays) that is very pleasing, not terribly complex, but no apparent flaws either. When you factor in the low price of Superstition, I have to say I am a fan.  Good value for money here.

So, if you are a Food Network exec, contact me and let's shoot an episode on the Isle of Jura . . .


Jason Debly

Copyright © Jason Debly, 2009-2011. All rights reserved. Any and all use is prohibited without permission.  Note:  Photos of the Isle of Jura are by Rob Woodall and he retains all copyright to said photos.  They are used here with his permission.  Other photos by this great photographer are available at Flickr.


  1. Well Jason, I'm not a travel writer either, but I'm a good wannabe one.

    If you care to go to my site, and search for "Edradour" you can read about my not-so-fun Whisky Walk hike from Pitlochry to the distillery. But, I was able to return home with a bottle of 13 yr. old cask strength.

    I found your site looking for reviews on Old Pulteney. After reading your comments, I think I will leave my salt water tasting to my scuba diving.

    I could not find a review by you of Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, but I will probably buy Cragganmore 12 yr. based on your comments.

    My nascent tastings to date are: Macallan Elegancia, Belvenie Double Wood, Delwhinne 15 yr, and Singleton.

    Thanks and keep on drinking (and writing about it.)


  2. Hi! I have not reviewed Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban but will eventually.

    I checked out your blog and think it is great! Keep on writing!


  3. Funny that you call this "Poor man's Talisker" because most US online retailers that carry both have them priced about the same, with a few bucks.

    Scott T

  4. Scott, where I am, Isle of Jura Superstition is a fair bit cheaper. Having the choice of Talisker 10 within $15, I would also opt for it.

  5. This distillery is becoming more available on Scottish shelves currently. A few different bottles with different finishes now which I'm never too enamored with. Like Glenmorangie it can become confusing.

    Agree its very drinkable and inoffensive. The lesser bottles are heavily discounted currently £20-£23 which represents great value. However Talikser does give you more bang for your buck.

  6. This blog is highly informatics, crisp and clear. Here everything has been described in systematic manner so that reader could get maximum information and learn many things. This is one of the best blogs I have read.

  7. Nice review! I found another interesting review on strat-talking

  8. I bought this as a gift and need all the help I can get in determining the wisdom of my choice. THank you for the review.

  9. Jura Superstition is currently £22.99 on Amazon!