Tone and aroma distilled for connoisseurs
Words: Tom Voce Images: Richard Ecclestone
Provenance drums always have such a story behind them that I feel I should be interviewing the Jura snare rather than reviewing it. Take its companions, made out of sailing ships, luxury cars or jet fighters of calibre or historical significance: they are objects of interest before being considered instruments of percussion. The Jura snare is of equally interesting provenance (see what they did with the name?). It is made out of a Scotch whiskey barrel used to age fine Jura single malt. Prior to that the barrel was used to age American bourbon and is made of American white oak. Now before I get all Food and Drink and tell you about its body and toffee aromas – yes, it really does still smell of whisky – we should probably consider it as an instrument for a moment.
The Jura has six tube lugs, a Dunnett R4 strainer, triple-flanged 2.3mm hoops and Puresound Custom 16 strand wires. It is topped with an Aquarian Textured Coated batter and a clear snare head. The bearing edges are hand-rounded to 45 degrees and given a 3mm radiused snare bed. It has a lovely engraved badge on the inside of the shell, and it comes with its own branded case.
It’s small: 12”x5.5” small, in fact, and it’s a stave construction, obviously – that’s how barrels are made. It’s also the same way they make congas, and I was interested to hear if there were any tonal reminders of the warmth and body of a stave conga. It turns out that having solid wood blocks shaped into a shell 12mm thick really does give some of the lovely rounded tones you’d expect from a conga. Surprisingly this small drum is pretty capable of providing more than just the mids and highs that I was expecting, though it is still limited in ‘oomph’.
Where it excels is high snap and mid punch with incredibly pure tone.
It’s good to get a piece of history built in to your snare because if you weren’t paying for the provenance, you’d expect to pay this price for a drum that could tackle any job.
What this is, then, is not a blend of evenly distributed characteristics that will suit all tastes, but instead it is a rare and distinctive single malt that would sit happily next to other uniquely flavoured snares in a collection of taste.
Provenance Jura snare