The isle of Jura is a remote and mountainous place. Though closer to the mainland than Islay, it is more rugged and far more sparsely populated. The isle is long and lean with a sharply undulating spine. Jura’s only town, Craighouse, and sole distillery, Isle of Jura, cling to a sheltered bay on the island’s south-east coast. The island once boasted a population of around 3000 people, mostly crofters, but today there are all of 188 men, women and children.
Jura’s profile is dominated by its three largest conical mountains or “paps”. The largest of these steep quartzite hills rises 785m from the coast. The word pap is Norse in origin, and derived from the female word for breast, which two of the mountains resemble. The mountains loom over Jura and can be viewed from nearly anywhere on Islay, as as far away as Northern Ireland on a clear day.
Isle of Jura distillery’s Paps Collection consists of three wine cask finished whiskies, each 15 years old, each bottled at 46% without chill filtering, each limited to just 1366 bottles and available only as a boxed set. The whiskies are names for Jura’s three islands: Mountain of Gold, Mountain of the Sound and The Sacred Mountain. These boxed sets are available exclusively in Canada from Kensington Wine Market. Only 11 sets are available, 3 of which have sold. The whiskies are available for sampling in store. The Paps Collection retails for $491.99 + GST. Here are my tasting notes on them:
- Jura Mountain of Sound 15 Year – 46% – Cabernet Sauvignon Cask Finish – 1366 Total Bottles – My Tasting Note: “Nose: soft with allspice, floral-grassy-malt, and honey with dried cherries and cranberries; softens to StrawberryÂ Twizzlers, barley sugar and sugar cane; Palate: more peppery and spicy than expected with soft leathery tannins and musty oak in a dunnage warehouse; dried and salted raisins, cranberries and cherries with some honey, licorice root and baked cloves; Finish: the Strawberry Twizzlers return but are quickly replaced by the dark spice and drying-earthy-leathery-tannins.
- Jura Mountain of Gold 15 Year – 46% – Pinot Noir Cask Finish – 1366 Bottles – My Tasting Note: “Nose: honey and nuts with spice, new leather sofa and fresh hewed wood; assorted jujubes, candied orange, date squares and Demerara sugar; Palate: big, leathery, fruity and sweet with some tingling spicy; orange coated almonds, beer nuts, candied ginger and orange with cinnamon and anise; Â chewy with jujube like fruit notes, leather and firm tannins; Finish: mid length, coating and leathery with fading sweet and spice.
- Jura The Sacred Mountain 15 Year – 46% – Barolo Cask Finish – 1366 Bottles – My Tasting Note: Nose: some Christmas cake elements: candied fruit, dark spice and cookedÂ molasses; soft and inviting with some creamy oak and cinnamon hearts; hints of all spice, cooked bananas and dulce leche; Palate: lovely interplay of sea-salt chocolate caramel tart with tingling spices: ginger, cinnamon and cardamom with candied fennel; there is candied fruit, light Christmas cake notes and Demerara sugar moving towards the finish; Finish: long,Â drying, sweet and a little leathery with hints of candied fruit and layered spice.