Isle of Jura Boutique Barrel, Review 2/3: Bourbon JO 1995

The great thing about cask strength whisky is that it gives you plenty of room for manoeuvre, especially if you’re prepared to take your time over a dram. The second of the Jura Boutique Barrel’s I tried was the Bourbon JO 1995. Bottled at 56.5% it has so much leaping out of the orangey gold liquid nestled at the bottom of the glass.

The nose has the fresh sharpness of orange peel which settled nicely with hints of polished ancient mahogany where you could almost taste the generations of finger prints. Creamy white chocolate and vanilla like a cabinet maker’s workshop, and a childhood memory of pungent Brasso sitting comfortably in the middle. After a short time these flavours subsided a little, giving way to toffee, stewed apples and cinnamon, orange blossom, tangy sweetness of lemon sherbet, all followed up by beach pebbles baking in the sun.

At first the palate didn’t impress me. The initial toasted almonds can be quite pleasant, but here it was slightly overpowering and was a bit rough on the mouth feel, but it quickly loosened up and turned to sweet marzipan and vanilla custard. The taste of summer came through with fresh cut grass and a dry earthy rockery on the aftertaste. Just when when I thought it had peaked, red apples and cinnamon crept in, finishing with freshly picked rhubarb.

This one impressed me. It had a lot going on and it carries it off well, showing great balance as it developed in the glass, but only for a shot while. A slight flabby dryness began to creep in and eventually became the dominating texture. It didn’t feel too rushed, but the overall pleasure of it would have been greatly enhanced if I could have spent a bit more time on it. It stands out strongly as a Jura, but even for those who are not fans of this distillery should get plenty of enjoyment out of it.

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