I visited the Jura Distillery on my trip to Scotland last year, but was unfortunately unwell and unable to try any of their whisky. So I've been meaning to give it a go since then. When last I was at the Heathman Hotel bar, I noticed a bottle of their basic 10 Year on the shelve and decided to try a dram.
The 10 Year is made from entirely ex-bourbon cask whisky which is then cut down to 43%. I am going to assume that it is chill filtered and colored, given that there are no statements to the contrary.
Jura 10 Year
Nose: malt-focused, slightly farm-y, vegetal, caramel, orange juice, mild oak, brown sugar. After adding a few drops of water, it becomes softer, the new make integrates better, vague fruitiness (apples/berries?), and bourbon-y corn comes out.
Taste: sweet caramel and malt up front, becoming grainy in the middle, then oddly bitter with new make notes at the back, barrel char throughout. After dilution, it becomes thinner but much creamier, the bitterness is stronger and more expansive, and some vague apple fruitiness comes out.
Finish: new make barley, oddly bitter caramel/burnt sugar
Now I understand why Jura's basic expression doesn't get a lot of love. There is simply nothing here that I can find to recommend this whisky. The body is extremely thin (and I have had whiskies that were good at 40% or lower, so it's not just the bottling proof). The spirit seems rather immature, with a lot of residual new make character, even after ten years in oak. And fundamentally, it just doesn't seem to hang together very well. The elements clash rather than harmonizing with each other. While I have heard better things about some of their other expressions, I am going to be giving this one a wide berth from now on.