The Jura boutique barrels is comprised of three different expressions, aged in different sets of barrels specifically selected by the Jura distiller Willie Cochrane. Each has been assigned a code in two letters used in the Jura warehouse to distinguish different barrels.
- XU – heavily peated and aged in Ex-Bourbon casks.
- JI – Oloroso Sherry.
- JO – First fill Bourbon casks.
If you’ve been following the blog, you probably noticed I’ve reviewed the XU heavy peat a few months back, and liked it very much (actually i even got a bottle of this after the initial review. it was that good). I’ve wanted to try the two other barrels and only now had the chance of getting to it. Will they be as exquisite as the XU? Let’s find out.
Isle of Jura boutique barrels, JI 1993 sherry, 54% ABV , £72
Nose: I can swear there is some smoke here… then some thick fruit jam, winey notes, berries, grapes, red ones. With
Palate : oh mama. Smoke up front, yes. smoke and loads of it.more like chewing on an unlit pipe tobacco.After the smoke retreats, enters oak wood. quite a bit of this as well and only later, the sherry reveals itself, with the darker fruit, plum and crushed dates. with water it becomes less smoky, more woody and bitter.
Finish : Smoke, bitter , spice. like a very condensed tea.
Isle of Jura boutique barrels, Bourbon JO Finish 1995, 56.5% ABV , £64
Nose : Vanilla, Wood Polish, Green apples, Wood , Citrus . with water : much fruitier, lots of citrus, and green apples and pears. some freshly cut grass. very fresh . wood is all gone.
Palate: Starts sweet, vanilla, fruity (orange marmalade, Lemon zest) , spicy oak. Very nice,I like this one… with water: spicier, nuttier , smoke is revealed, chilly. yeah, chilly. quite a change.
Finish : Bitter coffee, then becomes more fruity on apples/pears.
With the addition of water the palate did change quite a bit. the smoke was revealed and chilly notes became evident. a nice change with little water!
Those two were very different from each other. While the first was much thicker,heavy and a but smoky, the latter was fresher. I did prefer the JO bourbon over the JI Sherry, mostly because of the bitter ending of the sherry.adding water turned it to too bitter for me. Though i love sherry, the Bourbon first fill was more interesting, and the chilly twist at the end (with some water), was very nice.
When weighing all three expression (taking into consideration the XU heavily peated too) , i can say that the XU is my winner by far, then comes the JO and way behind is the JI. If you can only afford one and you do not mind peat, go for the XU. you can not go wrong. It’s also the cheapest of all three, so in the Price/Quality ratio, it wins big time.