Visual: Pale gold.
Viscosity: Quite slow thin streaks.
Nose: Grain stores. “Quicksilver” mental imagery. Light smoke and soot. Mashed sour dark berries. Water makes coal dust and bread pudding.
Body: Honey and apricot. Smoke and dried berries. Treacle. Golden syrup. Peat. Water makes big apricots and peach over malt loaf and raisins. Brandy cream.
Finish: Smoke. Steam beer. Dried beer slices and light pepper. Honey. Malt drinks. Water brings out raisins and sultanas. Brandy cream.
Conclusion: I don’t think I will ever stopped being surprised by the quality of Japanese whisky. Not that I expect it to be bad, but after all the good ones I keep expecting the other shoe to drop and at least one turn out to be duff. This is not going to be that one. This is good. It is a comparatively cheap no age statement whisky, but tastes like it could be a respected whisky on any line up.
It is a mix of two distinct trends – a big brash sweetness emphasised by stewed apricot and syrup, against a present but restrained coal dust and smoke peat character. It is all tied together by an unusual mouthfeel – best description I can give is akin to that mouthfeel of a steam beer. Which unfortunately I also had problems describing so that doesn’t help me much here.
The result is a delightful ephemeral feel, yet with long lasting flavour – as if all the flavour evaporates to fill your mouth, transcending the base spirit. The heavier smoke notes are just accents on the main language of the sweetness, benefiting but not dominating the flavour.
Another wonderfully drinkable Japanese whisky with a lot of well defined and well integrated notes. Each element distinct, but befitting the overall package.
I am very happy with this.
Background: Ok, copy paste time … ahem … ” Ok, bias warning first: This is a part of the Whisky Calendar given to The Bath Whisky and Rum Club, part of Independent Spirit, who invited me to assist with the notes in return for uploading them to alcohol and aphorisms. Sounded a very fair deal to me. Also, due to this we each only had half of the 3cl bottle so thoughts are based on a smaller exploration than usual. On the other hand I could not say no to the chance to try so many new whiskies. Many thanks!”. Not tried Yoichi yet, but I am a big fan of Japanese whisky. Drunk while listening to more New Model Army, I have five new CDs, it will take a while to properly listen to them all.