Every year on the Isle of Islay, there is a celebration of the island’s malts and distilleries known as Feis Ile and Tastival.
At the same time, on the Isle of Jura, which is but a stone’s throw from Port Askaig, Jura Distillery holds its Tastival, a one-day event that introduces Feis Ile pilgrims to Islay’s closest neighbour.
There are several events on the day, including tastings and the chance to meet the Diurachs, which refers to the people who live on Jura.
As well as these events, the distillery also releases an exclusive bottling, and this year was no different
This year saw the release of Jura Tastival 2017, which is quite different from Tastival 2016.
Where 206 was matured in Palomino Fino, Amoroso Oloroso and ApostolesOloroso Sherry casks, this year’s bottling has been matured in ex-Bourbon casks and Douro Valley Port pipes.
This makes for quite a difference in the flavours of each.
2016 was filled with sweetness. It opened with a nose of toffee and caramel, with a smooth, easy going quality to it.
These flavours were mingled with sweet nuts such as pecans and hazelnuts, which gave a lovely depth to the wooded oak notes that also came through.
There was also a delicate hint of almond, with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg spice behind it.
The spice continued into the palette, where it grew and became deliciously warming. The caramel took on a more tangible flavour and was introduced to poached pears and ripe red apples.
The tang of the orchard fruit worked well with the sweet and spicy sherry notes.
The finish lingered for a good while, and was filled with fruit and cinnamon.
This year’s edition is quite different, but retains that sweet and fruity profile.
This year, the main flavours appear on the nose, with lots of cherry bakewells and apple pies. These are complemented by a slight note of dark chocolate and leather.
This makes for a very refined and luxurious dram. The darker flavours go perfectly with the bright fruits.
On the palette there is a sweeter note of white chocolate and almonds. The cherry fit in well here and make for a mouth wateringly saccharine dram.
The mouth feel is creamy and soft, with caramel and maple syrup coming through.
This also goes well with the sweet vanilla and oak wood tones that make an appearance.
The finish has lots of citrus fruits in it, with oranges and lemons pooping up. These are a nice refreshing flavour against the sweetness of the palette.
So as you can see, these are quite different drams, with only the basics of a flavour profile to join them. Whichever is better is really up to you, and gives you the perfect excuse to buy them both!