Friday, 31 January 2014

Jura Superstition

My review of Jura Superstition (with added commentary) 

didn’t really know what to say about this whisky (an inspired start!). Jura added this to their standard range a couple of years ago on the back of a load publicity (topical, still at least you avoided going for a spoooky or supernatural Themed Review).

As I worked my way through the bottle over a number of weeks I scribbled a few notes. But ultimately the conclusion I was coming to was that that this was a solid if slightly unexceptional dram (*round of applause, garlands thrown, phones Nobel literature prize judges*).

But then something struck me (*sits forward, intrigued* Do go on). The bottle I’d just finished seemed to have disappeared much faster than the others that I had on the shelf (so, you’ve gone for the spooky angle after all?) The last thing I had written down was “very suppable” (the last thing before you passed out?).

So on reflection I came to realise that this is actually a very good whisky.  I found I kept turning to it when I couldn’t decide what to have – the times where I didn’t fancy anything too peaty or sweet or too expensive this was the one to go for. (That sounds like you’re damning it with faint praise).
That sound as if I’m not damning it with faint praise (See!) but at the same time that’s quite an achievement to produce such a crowd-pleaser, something you know you'll be happy with. I found it also went down well amongst friends. This is the whisky you can pour out and say “Try this, you’ll like it”. It became something of a go-to (or standby?) whisky during its short life.

What else to say? (How about some normal tasting notes?). The smell is sweet and pine-y. The colour is a dark treacle toffee. It’s very smooth, no water required at all (If I might interject. Personally, I think the smoothness is the biggest strength). It's got a nice bit of smoke, sweet and woody rather than damp and peaty.
Value wise, it’s good, £30+ which is not exorbitant (although is it just me or have Jura pushed their prices up recently?). As ever the No Age Statement makes judging the value a little opaque but at least they’re not asking £40+ like so many other NAS whiskies. The debate on No Age Statements has been raging on amongst whisky nerds for a while especially since (Blah blah – skip to the end).

The End

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Kilchoman 100% Islay (2nd Edition)

Kilchoman 100% Islay - 2nd EditionI love this whisky. I really do. I love it in a way that's difficult to articulate. This isn't The Best Whisky I've Ever Had - although up against objective measures it stands up as a very fine whisky. But I can't quite put my finger on why I'm so enamoured with it. To draw an analogy I feel like Kilchoman is a new band and I have just heard their awesome debut album.

The good things about it – the smell is amazing, it gets off to a good start with a massive blast of sweet smoke, I confess I couldn’t stop taking the top off it for a niff.
The taste is lovely. Maybe it’s the youthfulness but it comes across as very fresh. It’s a little bit like the Caol Ila I’ve described elsewhere but with a more creamy edge like the Laddie 10. It has a very appealing straw colour that might make you think it was a bit weedy if you didn’t know better.

As I say, this isn't the perfect whisky; it’s very smooth for its age but still a tiny bit jagged on the edges and the finish isn’t the longest. But it’s exciting, it leaves you wanting more. It’s the unpolished 30 minute album that doesn’t outstay its welcome. I can’t guarantee that other people would love this whisky - in the same way that your best friend might be utterly non-plussed when you introduce them to you new favourite band - but I’ll be proselyting.

What else is there to say? Well I’m clearly not the only one getting excited by Kilchoman, their various expressions have been getting some good reviews. The Kilchoman Distillery itself is a very interesting operation, Islay's newest distillery in 100 years, very small output, big on provenance etc but you can look all that up.

Some might take issue with the price and might balk at the idea of paying £60+ for this expression  or others (£40 for their standard Machir Bay bottling) considering none of their whisky is even 10 years old yet. But considering the entire operation takes place on one farm (including growing the grain) the price does seem to reflect the input. Plus there is a scarcity vale due to the size of the operation. 

As you might guess I'll be trying more.