Jura 23, 1989 (Signatory for K&L)

Jura 23, 1989, Signatory

Following the official “Prophecy”, here is an older, independent, heavily peated Jura. This was bottled by Signatory for K&L in California, and is one of the few of K&L’s selections for 2013 that I thought was pretty good.

I didn’t like it so much from the get-go though. I first opened it for one of local group’s tastings and at the time I thought it was fine but nothing more. The group (who tasted it blind) seemed to agree and it didn’t do very well in terms of either ranking or overall score. I let it sit in the bottle for a few more months and then brought it back to another of our tastings (the photograph was taken right before the second tasting, and the notes were taken the night after). Lo and behold, the whisky seemed to have improved dramatically in the bottle and it took top honours for the night (everyone but me again drinking blind). Yet more evidence of how dynamic a whisky can be and how misleading reviews based on single samples (as so many of mine are) can be if they’re presented or taken as comprehensive pronouncements (as I hope mine aren’t) rather than as snapshots of a particular tasting experience and moment in a bottle’s life.

Jura 23, 1989 (58.7%; Signatory; bourbon barrel 30707; from my own bottle)

Nose: Lemons, ashy smoke, and farmy, slightly minerally peat. Gets a little sweeter as it sits and a bit of vanilla emerges. The farmy note gets a little stronger with time and there’s a bit of hot tarmac too now. With more time the smoke is more expansive and it’s less ashy now. Less smoky with water but more of the hot tarmac and minerally notes—as well as some medicinal notes (think uncoated tablets rather than iodine).

Palate: As on the nose it leads with the lemon and ashy smoke, but there’s a little chilli pepper beneath that here before the sweeter stuff comes in. Much more acidic and also much more salty on subsequent sips. With a lot more time the acid comes back into better balance and there’s a note of wet stones as well. Okay, let’s add water. With water it becomes far less acidic and salty and now the minerally peat is front and center. It’s more old-school now, reminding me of some 1970s peated mainland malts I’ve tried.

Finish: Long. The sweetness turns to acid and it starts getting quite tart now (green apples, vinegar); not unpleasantly tart though. The smoke runs through it all. And yes, it gets quite salty here too. With a lot more time the salt calms down and the smoke is now the main player. As on the palate with water.

Comments: Still not anything complex, and I doubt I would have guessed anywhere close to 23 years if I was drinking it blind but it’s hard to complain too much at the price. I think it’s all gone now anyway, but while I wouldn’t have got a second bottle I would have recommended it.

Rating: 87 points (pulled up a bit with water).

6 thoughts on “Jura 23, 1989 (Signatory for K&L)

  1. Thank you, MAO, for raising the issue of whiskey reviews based on samples, a practice I find troubling. I’m relatively new to the single malt world, having been primarily a wine drinker. One of the more intriguing aspects of a single malt is its evolution as the bottle level drops. Indeed, I’m often disappointed with the first pours from a freshly opened bottle only to be delighted later. (And, yes, the opposite experience applies.) I understand the practicality–and fun–of friends exchanging samples, especially where an “inexpensive” malt will send you back $50.00. But still…

    Next time you’re in L.A., check out a Isaan Station, a Thai restaurant in Koreatown. Great papaya salads. http://la.eater.com/2013/2/25/6475627/isaan-station-cooks-up-thai-street-food-in-koreatown#4226564


    • I’ve actually noted the point a number of times before. I don’t think the solution is to not review from samples but to stress the contingent nature of the reviewing.

      And as for Isaan Station you’ll never guess what restaurant I’m going to be posting a review of next Tuesday….


  2. Speaking of K&L bottling have you heard anything about either the 92 Ardbeg or the th 91Glenfarclas? I own the ardbeg but have yet to open it . I have been thinking of pulling the trigger on the farclas as it seems like a good price but am waiting to see a review or a score on Whisky Base pop up for it.


  3. My guess is it’ll be good at the least—but at that price you probably want very good at the least. One way of looking at it is that it’ll likely be better for sure than the non-cs OB 25 (which is also vatted); on the other hand, my translation of the marketing sell at that link is “we got this cheaper vatting made up of casks not good enough to sell as singles”. Me, I’d probably buy an Amrut Intermediate Sherry and save some money.


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