Nikka: Miyagikyo: 10 Year (Japanese Single Malt Whisky: 10 Year: 45% ABV)

Viusal: Gold.

Viscosity: Quite fat thick streaks.

Nose; Clean. Grain fields and vanilla. Husked barley. Oak. doesn’t change much with water.

Body: Vanilla custard. Sherbet lime. Some dried meat underneath. Very smooth. Smoke. Honeycomb. Stewed apricot. Oak. Even smoother with water, adds more of the custard honey, lime and oak.

Finish: Oak. Dried meat. Vanilla. Honey. Not much change with water, brings out some apricot.

Conclusion: Not a comparison I was expecting to make, but remember that grain whisky I had short while back? This reminds me somewhat of that. For once a comparison to a grain whisky is not intended as an insult. This is a very sweet and smooth whisky, and it shows the very clean nature that may be attributable to the top of the line up to date distilling processes used to produce it (As opposed to yoichi which uses much more traditional methods). As a result it does feel slightly smooth and edgeless.

Well, ok maybe not completely edgeless, just not harsh. There is a touch of smoke, and dried meat below a very smooth custard and vanilla whisky. It is very technically competent, and very balanced. You have just enough sweet stewed fruit notes before the light meat and smoke come in to balance it.

Is it odd that it seems too well balanced? I have never hidden my love of rough edges and eclectic whisky, and though impressive this polished to within an inch of its life whisky doesn’t really match my needs. It is like an overproduced album, but whisky.

Now this is very obviously a personal criticism, but for me I preferred the single grain. This has the smooth flavour down pat, but the grain had an edge in feel, and that made it better to me.

Technically I cannot fault it, but on the personal stakes something doesn’t grab me.

Background: Recently GLO did great article on the “Art Of Hibiki” event. Check it out. Anyway, with this still floating in my mind I headed over to Brewdog Bristol only to find they had on a nice wee selection of Japanese whiskys to celebrate world whisky day. Nice. So, after talking with the staff I decide on this whisky, from the newer distillery which uses the new, more technological led methods of distilling.