Saturday, February 11, 2017

Whisky Review: Jura "Origin" 10 years Single Malt Scotch

If Johnnie Walker Black was a fellow, he would be a young, lean, angular jawed, recent MBA grad, full of ambition with his career mapped out in exhaustive Montblanc detail on a coffee shop napkin, should you care to ask.

Got an expensive car lease that you impulsively plunged into during the sunny honeymoon period with your ex-gf, and now, under the gathering sombre clouds of insolvency, you are desperate to escape?  Johnnie actually knows someone, who knows someone, who wants that overpriced and unreliable German automotive piece of revenge, launched against us because our grandfathers won the War. After a volley of texts, email, and countless lattes, you will find yourself, a prisoner released from the Mercedes Benz Finance debtor's prison.

Seated next to Johnnie, in a gray Philadelphia Eagles poncho, is Glen, or more precisely Glenfiddich 12, and he likes fishing, Coors Light and football.  Everyone likes Glen, particularly the ladies.  He has an interesting opinion on everything from Ford truck lift kits to what kind of industrial glue, wax and gold metallic paint is used to maintain Trump's pompadour!

And sitting across from these two characters at the coffee shop/ bookstore / consignment art gallery,  or hunting ground for a Friday night date, is Jura.  He's got the J.Crew catalogue thing goin' on a little too much with the green merino wool v-neck, the golf ball white Brooks Brothers button down underneath, and of course ironed safari beige khakis.  Are we in church or trying to meet ladies in a coffee shop / bookstore / avante garde nude interpretative dance theatre troupe gallery or whatever the hell this place is?  C'mon Mr. Rogers !!!

What can I tell you about Jura?  He's frugal.  Cheap to hang out with, but damn, the 25 cent tip he leaves behind is a bitter reminder to the waitress that it is a cold world out there just like February's icicles lining the metal awning beyond the cafe's storefront window.

Single Malt Scotch

Cheap price for the 10 yr single malt category.

Island (Jura)

10 years

Cork stopper

43% (depending on market, may be 40%)

Production Note
Aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks, unpeated.

E150a Color?

Nose (undiluted)
Banana, cream, honey sweetness, faint floral notes.

Palate (undiluted)
Creamy, banana, oak, melon, honey, coconut and white cake bread.  Faint marine/dulse note (even though the malt is not peated, maybe the bogs covering much of the island transfer some peat/phenolic notes into the natural water supply used by this distillery). Wood smoke / kippers.

Finish (undiluted)
Tight green apple, slightly acidic green pepper, unripened melon, bitter lemon seed and orange pith.  Some mackerel and wet wood smoke too.

General Impressions
Jura delivers the goods for the price, but just barely.  The grapefruit pith and lemon rind finish is simply too bitter to be pleasant leaving this malt unbalanced and wanting.  Maybe it needed more time in the cask.  Or maybe the spirit needed some time in sherry casks to soften the citrus bitterness.  I suspect so.

For what you paid, you receive a very basic malt.  No complexity, no intrigue, no excitement.  Maybe sometime you may want a simple Maritime style whisky that will not break the bank.

You are not being wowed.  Your friend is not Highland Park 18 doing an in-store poetry reading, that attracts a circle of fluttering ladies like moths to a flame.

Instead, Jura is a strait-laced / law abiding fellow, who by turns can be a little taciturn, which makes it hard to attract bees since there is little honey sweetness once the finish arrives or when he opens his mouth to speak.  I mean, he is not willing to accept some sherry casks and peat into his personality.  Need I say more?  He would be more charismatic if he would adopt the easygoing world view of Glen.  As a friend, you accept Jura's risk-averse nature for what it is, a decent character, who by turns is a little bitter and astringent.


Jason Debly

P.S.  Glenfiddich 12 is typically priced lower than Jura 10 yrs "Origin" and does not present any of the bitter grapefruit pith notes.  However, Glenfiddich 12 is not particularly smoky or marine-like in the style of Jura.  If you want the nautical and sea-like style around the same price point, then please consider Old Pulteney 12 years.  


  1. Now thats a review . .

    This is something I often drink and fully accept and agree with the description.

    Must be about to be changed or rebranded as currently clearing in many stores here in the UK at £16 per bottle (about $19.50 usd $26.50 Cnd)

    Been stocking up.

  2. G'day Jas.
    Better than the Superstition?
    AL (from OZ)

    1. No, not at all. Superstition is better for sure. The one flaw of This 10 yr old is the very lemony, bitter orange pith note on the finish. Some people may not like that. I can overlook it and somehow it is not so annoying given the cheap price of it where I live.

      Hope all is well!

  3. Yep.. All Good thanks mate. Damn busy at work... I'll never be out of a job though..(work at a large coastal Sewer Treatment Plant) Ha ha!! Nearly $ 80 down here for it... I'll pass.
    I'm building up a stock pile for the winters tastings.
    Ardbeg Uig. (daughter got it in Melbourne)
    Oban 14
    Kilchoman Machir Bay
    Bulleit Bourbon 10yr (second bottle)
    Bruichladdich Islay Barley (half empty... love it.)
    I know you've had the first 2.. what about the bottom 3 ??

    OO ROO


    1. I have never tried Kilchoman, so can't venture an opinion on it.

      Bruichladdich is a distillery that seems to be constantly experimenting with interesting releases. Some are home runs like a malt I tried one time that they aged in ex-Italian wine casks (Barolo and Barbareso!) that was incredible. Other offerings have simply baffled me.

      I have not tried the Islay Barley, but with your recommendation I will seek it out.


    2. I forgot to mention Bulleit Bourbon. Good stuff for sure and usually reasonably priced!

  4. Jura 10 is what my parents usually have in the cupboard. Used to think it was a bit 'meh', but last time I noticed there was a real honeyed thing going on, and enjoyed it. I got my dad the 16, but nobody liked it (could have been an off bottle)?

    1. Jura used to be not long ago, really unexceptional, but lately they have turned things around a bit. I have not had the 16, so can't say much.

      There are single malts that simply are not very good. A prime example is a bottle of Tobermory 15 years. Just terrible stuff. Sulphur like and my bottle was not the only one. A friend of mine bought the same bottle and his tasted equally bad. A well distributed disappointing malt is Highland Park 10 years. As much as I like Highland Park distillery, I really dislike the 10.

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. I think I will save this 30 Euro for it. Thanks for advising

  6. I bought a bottle of Jura 10 on a whim several years ago. Had a few shots on different occasions and thought It tasted exactly like the public swimming pool from childhood. I can't make myself go back, I pawned it off on my friends who enjoy bottom-shelf Canadian whiskies. Even they were not impressed, I'm glad it is off my shelf, never to return...