Chieftain’s 1996 Isle Of Jura 14 Year Old – Review

*Thanks to the good folks at Impex Beverages for the sample.

I’m anxious for the people of the Isle of Jura, all 200 of them, give or take a few hearty souls. Reading up on the island, I’ve learned that they are outnumbered nearly 35 to 1 by the large, locally prolific, and usually docile Red Deer (Cervus elaphus). I say “usually docile” because, as I see it, it’s only a matter of time before these antlered hellions of the Hebrides rise up and stampede their way into power. I have no idea why they’d want to do this, the island itself looks beautiful and it seems like the deer have a pretty good thing going, but history is littered with episodes of the majority usurping the ruling minority and more or less making…them…pay. Most likely, it’ll be some whip-smart but misguided deer named Kevin or Blake that  stirs up a lot misplaced anger amongst the slower thinkers of the bunch by wanting to sleep indoors in the winter or eat his veggies off a plate instead of off a branch,  and next thing you know, you got a movement happening. Let me just say that I’m not condoning such a revolt, just that it could happen. People probably love those deer right now, but you go ask Charlton Heston what he thinks of apes these days and you’ll see my point.

Mark my words, if it happens, it’d be catastrophe, especially for the Jura distillery. Ergonomically speaking, there’s no way those deer are going to be able to run that place and produce the quality whisky people have grown used to. This expression from Ian Macleod’s Chieftain’s range was aged in a re-fill bourbon cask, numbers 268 bottles, an is non chill-filtered.

The Nose:  A very sweet yet quiet nose. buttery caramel and crisp, under-ripe pears and almond paste…hell, almond sponge cake even. Beneath that, cinnamon & sugar mix and vanilla extract. Faint tannins and slight medicinal peat add a subtle counterpoint.

The Palate:  Creamy mouthfeel, with more brown sugar and orgeat syrup to start, eases into cinnamon and clove spiced wood notes. Grows spicier, peppery, and a little salty towards the finish with nice tannins nearly overpowering very subtle, vegetal peat notes.

The Finish: Medium-ish. Lingering peppery oak, candied almonds and sea salt with a subtle ashy quality.

Thoughts:  An intriguing dram, a little subdued on the nose, but spicy and peppery towards the finish. In between, it actually transitions from these different flavor profiles fairly well. It’s maritime/island influence is subtle as well, I was expecting a bit more dark complexity, yet found a lighter nose. I found this reminiscent of some of the distillery bottlings in that it has that peppery, tannic quality but not as much peat and rich, bold, complex sweetness, which I missed.

Chieftain’s 1996 Isle Of Jura 14 Year Old, Island (Jura…duh.)

46% ABV

Score:  81

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2 thoughts on “Chieftain’s 1996 Isle Of Jura 14 Year Old – Review

  1. “…go ask Charlton Heston what he thinks of apes.” (?) I wasn’t aware Charlton Heston “thought”!

    1. Well, I guess I should say Charlton Heston’s character. Charlton himself does show precious little evidence of thinking.

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