Distillery: Isle of Jura
Age: No age statement
Located next to its more famous neighbour Islay, the Isle of Jura has only one road, one pub and one distillery. Fortunately, this distillery produces far more than the island’s 200 inhabitants could ever hope to consume, meaning there is lots left over for whisky aficionados like you and me. This particular expression of Jura is quite a special one, and is the sole member of Jura’s Travel Exclusives range. Turas-Mara means ‘Long Journey’ in Gaelic, and pays tribute to the many Diurachs who left their Scottish homeland behind as a result of the Highland Clearances in the 19th century. Indeed the name is fitting, as this whisky is quite the piece of international synergy. Matured in a mix of bourbon, sherry, port and Bordeaux wine casks from the USA, Spain, Portugal and France respectively, and sold at airports all over the globe, this whisky has travel written all over it. The result is an enticing, complex dram that I personally can’t get enough of. Well worth a try!
Nose: Rich and fragrant, with an immediate rush of raisins and dried fruit. Mellow and heavy somehow, yet also flowery, with hints of nectar and heather. This gives way to pine oak and a whiff of that slightly musty Jura smell. Notes of praline and vanilla mingle with a pinch of cinnamon. There’s such a wealth of aromas on the nose, it’s quite intriguing!
Palate: The maritime distillery character pushes to the fore, but is joined by a barrage of earthy, oaky flavours. These are exquisitely balanced with notes of marzipan and slightly overripe blackberries, giving this whisky a sweet yet sophisticated personality. Roasted lamb and a light smokiness guide this dram towards the finish.
Finish: Looong! Aged oak and black fruits ease out into a rather dry, spicy aftertaste. Not overly warming, but does leave a long, lingering experience on the taste buds, as if you’ve just finished chewing a wine cask. Great stuff!
Verdict: Can you overdo the number of cask finishes on a whisky? Having tried the Jura 2014 Tastival bottling (7 different casks!) I have to say yes, but the Turas-Mara is another story. Essentially a more balanced version of the Tastival, it combines an immensely rich bouquet of flavours with the more rugged Jura distillery profile. The result is a whisky that is exceptionally drinkable and will always have you coming back for more. Good thing then the Turas-Mara comes in a litre bottle: it’s a lovely whisky and good value for money besides.