Tag Archive: Japan


coedo-kyara

Coedo: Kyara (Japan: Pilsner: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale yellow gold with moderate white head and no real carbonation.

Nose: Malt caramel. Light nutty hops. Milky coffee. Dried apricot.

Body: Milky coffee. Honey. Creamy lemon. Light hop crispness. Quite malt led. Creamy. Oats. Nutty. Slight stewed fruit. Dried apricot. Raisins. Hop oils.

Finish: Toffee. Light bitterness. Milky coffee. Porridge. Moderate hop prickle. Walnuts. Slight chalk. Honey. Madeira.

Conclusion: I was not expecting this to have quite as thick body as it does. It packs in lots of caramel, lots of toffee, honey – even some nuttiness in there. I was expecting a crisp, fresh lager – this is a comparatively full force, sweet sipping, thing with a touch of hops layered on too.

Now as I have reference in the background, I tried this when it was just a few days older than it should have been – but despite that it still has some good, but not excessive, bitterness to it, and some light citrus notes working in there as well. Now the citrus would probably be more emphasised if tried when the beer was young but right now it seems like a sweet fruity dusting over the sweet malt base, leading out into a pretty nutty finish.

It is very easy drinking big sweetness. Light chalk and nutty character rises with the bitterness over time which gives a slight grounding to what is a predominantly sweet beer. If you want a refreshing lager then, as indicated before, you might find this a tad of a disappointment. However this still isn’t hard drinking, and gives a good chunk of flavour in exchange for that. While not a world shaker it actually had got quite a bit of range to with with darker fruity notes below. I think if I had it fresher there would probably be a bit more hop prickle to contrast as well, though that is just conjecture on my side at the moment.

A solid thick lager – on the heavier end of the style and better off for it. I approve.

Background: Haven’t had Coedo since I was last in Japan, which is a few years ago now – so when I saw this in Independent Spirit I thought I would grab it. Now it turns out this was very close to best before date when I grabbed it, so when I drank it, it was about a week past its best before date. When I noticed that I considered not putting the notes up – but decided against that for a couple of reasons 1) I still enjoyed it 2) Looking at the profile on the bottle and other notes it seems I have very close matches to theirs, so it doesn’t look like it was hurt too much and 3) beers have to travel a long way from Japan, so they tend to be a few months old by the time they get here anyway. Any which way, just keep that in mind when you are reading these notes. Drunk while listening to Meshuggah – Obzen – fucking brutally heavy, technically awesome metal.

Isawa Blended Whiskey

Isawa: Blended Whiskey (Japanese Blended Whiskey: 40% ABV)

Visual: Pale grain gold.

Viscosity: Thick fast streaks.

Nose: Alcohol in thick jelly style. Some lime. Sulphur. Rice and grain. Toffee. Actually more alcohol style with water.

Body: Kind of empty. Toffee. Dry rice and rice crackers. Vanilla. Water adds, well a slight watery character. Still mainly toffee.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Rice crackers and boiled white rice. Dust balls. Grit. Muddy water. Light lime and chocolate. Water makes, well, pretty much the same.

Conclusion: You know how Japan has a very hard earned and well deserved reputation for high quality whisky? Well this is trying to shit all over that reputation then flush it down the toilet. It is possibly, simultaneous, the most empty and most unwelcome whisky I have ever encountered.

Let’s jump straight past the aroma and go onto that first sip. There is nearly nothing as it hits the tongue, now over time toffee will come out, but for now the best I can define an element is just kind of stale rice crackers. That is it.

Then, oh the, the finish hits. Dust, grit and muddy water. How can something so empty end this badly? There is still some toffee, but generally it is just rough and without any real intended or good flavours.

Now may be a good time to bring up something I encountered from googling. This is described as having a “unusual and intriguing flavour”. That is possible the closest we will find to truth in advertising for this thing – It is definitely unusual, and well I am intrigued how they made a whisky this bad. I have said many a time that there is nearly never such a thing as a bad whisky, even rough whiskies can be made better with water, and generally they have the hard to define “whisky” character that brings you to the game. Not here. I can imagine a bunch of advertising execs sitting, and their long withered conscience nagging at them. Even they can’t describe these in the usual flowery terms. It would be a lie too far

So, “unusual and intriguing flavour” it ended up then.

Incidentally I mentioned water above, no amount of water helps this. It just seems to same but more, well, like dirty water. Water just makes it taste like water.

So, erm, to be fair, what is the good side of this? Erm, toffee notes exist. Occasional lime notes come out. Ok, being fair done!

So, back to why this is shit. It feels rough. It feels empty. It, somehow, manages to make a finish that is only grit and dry rice last an insanely long and painful time.

I was sceptical when warned about this, but no, they were right, this is possibly the worst whisky that exists, it is at least the worst I have ever tried.

It is bad.

Seriously bad.

Background: This may be the whiskey I tweeted about earlier in the week. Maybe. This is the second of a set of whisky bottles given to me with about a double of spirit left in them for tasting note purposes, provided by Independent Spirit. Many thanks! Drunk while listening to Ritualz: CDR album, a weird electronic, haunting thing of which I am very fond. Chris of Independent spirit did warn me this was bad up front, I thought he was exaggerating… This is described as being made with a malted barley “close to” pearl barley in style, which from a quick google is a barley with all the bran removed. Not sure that sounds like a good idea.

Adelphi The Glover 14 Year

Adelphi: The Glover: 14 Year (Scottish and Japanese Blended Malt Whisky: 14 Year: 44.3% ABV)

Visual: Yellowed deep gold.

Viscosity: Fast thick streaks.

Nose: Smoke. Dried apricots and almonds. Thick. Vanilla. Apples. Water brings out pears and cinnamon.

Body: Very smooth texture, but noticeable alcohol. Malt chocolate, smoke and charring. Apricot slices. Dried beef slices. Intense peach syrup sweetness and stewed fruit. Coal dust. Water adds apples and cinnamon, beef broth and a steam beer texture. Tropical fruit. Treacle. More water adds vanilla toffee.

Finish: Smoke and ash. Malt chocolate. Steam beer air. Cinnamon. Toffee and stewed fruit. Water adds treacle, still an alcohol air. More water adds beef broth and vanilla toffee.

Conclusion: This is a very odd one to do notes on, as I had to return a few times more than usual. The experience when I first tried on the bottle opening, when I tried when doing notes, and when I tried post doing notes but before putting up the notes, all were different experiences. So I drank a bit more and did a few more sets of notes, and this is the final conclusion.

This is a very thick whisky – Now it does have a bit higher abv than usual, but from the mouthfeel I would have guessed that this was a cask strength. Thankfully, while it does have a noticeable alcohol character, it isn’t near the usual cask strength fire and what it does have is easily muted by water.

It punches with smoke from the aroma onwards, but not in what would be the more expected peaty, meaty way of whiskeys such as Ardbeg. This has drier smoke with a coal dust style character that is simultaneously lower intensity but despite that harsher in the impact due to the dryness. This is one of the elements that seemed to vary a lot however, there is always some element of the character but it seemed very variable depending on circumstances.

That is not the most notable characteristic though – the unusual character that really comes out is as the originally smooth mouthfeel expands out into a strange, almost steam beer styled, slightly gas cooker styled, feel. It reminds me of an old whisky I had tried that had been direct heated rather that indirect heated at distillation. I am unsure if that is what caused the characteristic here – I know some Japanese distilleries go very old school and traditional on making their whisky. Any which way it gives a very distinct character.

Initially the whisky was dominated by full and harsh coal notes, water lets it soften to green fruit and apricot slices that come out backed treacle sweetness. The whisky it is still led by that gas cooked air and can be harsh coal backed, though these element seemed to come and go in the varied tastings. The sweetness matches the intensity of the harshness when it is there, but does not reduce the impact. When the harshness is not present you instead get a huge stewed fruit sweetness pushing forth in its place.

When it still has those harsh notes it feels slightly too all intense, all the time for me. The thing people oft forget about Laphroaig and Ardbeg is that for all their intensity, they have sweetness contrast or moments of release. Thankfully in the majority of my samples the harsh notes gave way to that stewed fruit, still intense but providing that touch of contrast.

Now that is not to say that there is not a lot else going on, as you can see from the notes there are cinnamon and apples mix – pear notes that remind me of Hakushu whisky, though it is not unique to that distillery. It is well made and smooth, especially with water, and remains smooth even with the harsh flavours when they are present, but it doesn’t always mesh.

I admire its mix of odd and even possible nigh unique characteristics, when it works it is good – the mix of smoke, steam beer character and stewed fruit is a journey. It possibly doesn’t need to be as thick as it is all the time, it can get wearing – especially when the harsher notes are there. As a whisky it is a tad unreliable, hence needing multiple returns, but when it is on it is very distinct and pretty good.

Background: 1,500 notes, and I have been holding this one since the beginning of the year for the special occasion – grabbed from The Tasting Rooms on recommendation, this is a blend of Japanese and Scottish Malt whisky and one of 1,500 bottles. Well, 1,500 bottles this release. I’m sure they will do another release. As a fan of both countries’ whisky this sounded fascinating. So, for music, did I go for J-pop, anime soundtracks, taiko drumming to reflect Japan? Bagpipes, Scottish Punk, or such for Scotland? No, I went for “Heck”, because it reminds me of their absolutely mental live gigs which are basically riots with music. Hey, my blog, my choice. Been a fun 1,500 notes and here is looking forwards to 1,500 more – thanks for reading, commenting, and, until next time – enjoy your drink!

Ichiro's Malt The Final Vintage Of Hanya

Ichiro’s Malt: The Final Vintage Of Hanya (Japanese Single Malt Whisky: 10 Year: 59% ABV)

Visual: Deep gold.

Viscosity: Initial fast streaks then thin slow streaks follow.

Nose: Big, very big. Chocolate fudge and honey. Praline. Crushed peanuts. Pencil shavings. Mild orange peel. Mild coffee. Water expands with white grape and smoke. More water makes for a more wood character.

Body: Very warming. Milky coffee. Burns if held but not initially. Charred oak. Bitter. Slicker with water – sour white grapes. White chocolate. Dried beef. Sweeter grapes and beefier as more water goes in. Still very viscous with water.

Finish: Dry oak. Water adds dry beef slice notes. Malt chocolate. More water adds pepper and spice racks, grapes and bitter cocoa.

Conclusion: I’m being very careful with this one, trying a little slice of history. I knew that the whisky would be harsh neat – is is 59% – but I still needed to try just a little sip like that, to do otherwise would feel like a waste. After my little mouth numbing indulgence I then had to walk the thin line between adding enough water to get it in the perfect state before I had finished it, and the fear of drowning the whisky.

The aroma, as the item that is most easily examined without consuming, therefore gives the best insight into what we have here. It is deep, thick and a mix between praline chocolate and fudge. When water enters the equation it remains thick, but now with viscous grapes freshening it without diminishing the weight of character. In all things it feels big, yet somehow not raw.

Even as I enter the main whisky, sipping upon the liquid I find one that becomes burning if held too long, and numbing in the finish, one that needs water, but despite that, even neat there is a smoothness to it. It is numbing, but not harsh in raw alcohol character. Water takes it from this deep, heavy, coffee touched beast to a lighter, yet still peat or beef touched, grape sweet style. The balance swaying between those depending on water and there is plenty of room to find your balance.

On the once through I gave it I find that I feel unprepared to give a complete verdict. I can feel that there is a lot of complexity to this- I have seen a lot of depth already and I have feeling that there is more to find. It makes full use of its high abv.

Purely based on what I have experienced I am happy to say that even with water this is a dark and almost bitter whisky. It allows you to find your level with the grape contrast but the main core is that bitterness, chocolate and nuts. If somehow you are lucky enough to try this, please do so.

Many thanks again to Chris of Independent Spirit for giving me this chance.

Background: Again- many, many thanks to Chris from Independent Spirit for this one. He got a small amount of this, the final vintage from the now closed Hanya distillery, and gave me some of that to sample. Distilled 2000 for bottling 2010 by my quick bit of internet research. With it being a necessarily small, yet awesome, sample my notes are not as long pondered as usual, but I do my best. To do any less in this situation would be a crime. I needed appropriately epic music for this, something elegant and yet bombastic. So I listened to Napalm Death. It is the only way. The container in the photo is not the original container. I took a photo of the original at Independent Spirit with a cheap phone camera, but as you can see below, I managed to get pretty much everything but the whisky in focus.

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Yoichi No Age Statement
Yoichi: No Age Statement (Japanese Single Malt Whisky: 43% ABV)

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.

Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky

Nikka: Coffey Malt Whisky (Japanese Malt Whisky: No Age Statement: 45% ABV)

Visual: Heavy gold.

Viscosity: General slow thin streaks with a few quick ones breaking out.

Nose: Banoffee. Coffee granules. Heather. Light but sharp lemon notes. Water really opens up with coffee cake and walnuts plus some Belgian chocolate.

Body: Smooth and lightly oily. Coffee cake. Dried apricot. Lemon notes. Water makes more coffee cake, vanilla. Cream and some lemon cream comes out along with banoffee.

Finish: Coffee cake. Soft lime juice. Belgian chocolate. Waters gives more fresh lemon sponge like notes and marmalade.

Conclusion: ok, before we go into this in any depth, I have one thing to say … I am pretty much sure that I am not being psychosomatic here. Yes this thing is called Coffe(e)y malt whisky, so yes I am thinking about coffee, but I am sure that is not the reason I caught coffee notes in this. I had tried the Coffey Grain Whisky just before and that was fresh faced, fruity, light and utterly lacking in coffee. So, when I try this, and I swear to Hagen that it tastes seriously like coffee cake, I am fairly sure I am not fibbing.

There are still hints of the fruitiness that I saw in the grain whisky – I presume attributable to the fact they were both made in the same style coffey still. Despite that the core is very close to what I think of as a highland malt texture, but smoothed to within an inch of its life. Still slightly oily, but definitely no burn, just slick as can be – definitely leans heavily in the dessert flavours as an inspiration – Coffee cake, Belgian chocolate and vanilla notes, The is especially true with even just a little water, it isn’t that this needs smoothing – I don’t think it could be smoother -but it opens up lighter, creamier and rich flavours.

Water also helps some of the heavier and thicker fruit notes to come out – you now get bright and zinging marmalade amongst the main body. I’m actually writing than I less than I should be at this point as I am too distracted just enjoying it – Banoffee notes come out late on in the body to match their earlier show in the aroma. This is wonderfully smooth, rich and complex with lovely contrast of fruit notes to coffee sponge cake.

A wonderful experience from a wonderful whisky experiment. Now the big question. This isn’t really grain, it aint single malt due to the still type. It is excellent, but what the hell is it?

Background: Ok, this is a pure malt whisky made in Coffey column stills. AKA grain whisky stills. So, technically not a single malt whisky, but neither exactly grain. Anyway, I tried this at Bristol Whisky Show 2015 and liked it so much I grabbed a bottle to take back. So, completely unbiased notes today. Drunk whilst continuing the 8 bit music kick with some Andrey Avkhimovich.

Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt

Nikka: Taketsuru: Pure Malt (Japan Blended Malt: No Age Statement: 43% ABV)

Visual: Bronzed gold.

Viscosity: Thin fast streaks.

Nose: Gingerbread. Alcohol burn. Sultanas and perfume. Rose wine. Dried blueberries. Shortbread. Water brings out almond notes.

Body: Smooth. Honey. Warming. Caramel. Lime cordial. Drier base. Water adds a treacle touch and sweet orange.

Finish: Subtle liquorice. Honey. Slight alcohol. Malt drinks. Lime cordial. Rice crackers. Waters adds treacle notes.

Conclusion: Ok, first note: I am not going to go into the whole “no age statement controversy” thing here. I can’t be arsed really.

Note 2: How can something with an initially quite alcohol touched aroma be so smooth on the main body? For that matter how does something with such a smooth texture manage to feel so heavy after it has gone?

Note 3: I am mildly addicted to making numbered lists of notes.

Anyway, this is surprisingly heavy for a vatted malt – and with more rough edges than I would expect for the style (Maybe it is due to the lack of age st…ok,ok, just kidding). Now, this is an interesting thing for me, as I appreciate the smooth character of vatted malt, but one reason I oft go with single malt is the intriguing rough edges you can get. At the front it hits all smooth caramel and delivered as I would expect from a vatted malt – the back is where it hits heavier with treacle than that general, well, whisky feel. That kind of middle of the road Highland malt sweetness, with a touch more alcohol feel than is good for it.

So how well does it work? Ok, but not much more – I like rough edges, but despite being interesting, these rough edges don’t bring the charm – they are more the rough edges of a standard whisky. The front of this is nice, but nowhere near, say artists blend.

I blame the lack of age st…ok that joke got old quick.

It is ok, but you can get far better for your money.

Background: So, this is a no age statement whisky. Apparently there is a bit of controversy about non age statement whisky. I say apparently as I managed to mostly miss the blazing firestorm of discussion that has been the internet for years now. Meh. I have opinions on the whole thing, but frankly it has been beaten to death by now. This was drunk while listening to some 8 Bit Zoo by Snooglebum! Which may ruin any metal or punk cred I may have had. This had been found at Independent Spirit.

Ichiros Malt MWR

Ichiro’s: Malt MWR (Japanese Blended Malt Whisky: No Age Statement: 46% ABV)

Visual: Burnished gold.

Viscosity: Quick fast streaks.

Nose: Thick. Toffee. Husked barley. Golden syrup cakes. Vanilla. Pears and apples. Light oak. Water lightens and adds a shredded wheat grounding.

Body: Very smooth. Stewed apples and pears. Honey. Slightly fiery. Apricot. Water makes richer and smoother. Fudge. Custard, and brings out more of the existing fruits. Raspberry Pavlova.

Finish: Barley husks. Viscous sheen. Toffee. Drying. Pears. Water makes golden syrup, more pears and adds apricot.

Conclusion: Sometimes I wonder if it is psychosomatic or serendipity. This has in its main body exactly what the Bunnahabhain 25 promised in its aroma. So I go from disappointed in one, to very happy realisation of what I wanted in the other. There is stewed fruit, honey and apricot all delivered with a very smooth feel, albeit with a bit of an alcohol touch. So, what exactly is the odds of that?

Now, neat there is a bit of a sharpness to the high end of the aroma, kind of like freshly cut green fruit. It is a pity that water removes this, as it is a nice refreshing note to an otherwise quite thick whisky. However for removing that alcohol touch the water is overall a welcome addition.

The body is interesting, with all the delicate pears and apples that I would expect of, say, Hakushu but with none of the other delicate sensibilities. Instead here you get thick honey and golden syrup that basks around the whisky like a lazy lizard in the sun. It makes for a very rich, very sweet whisky that still manages to make room for the lighter elements. Even with the bit of extra fire neat you can still see those elements, and it doesn’t take much water to tamp it down.

Overall it is a massive stewed fruit mash up of a whisky. It is like an experimental punch bowl drizzled in syrup and spirit. Like a lot of Japanese whisky it feels very polished and smooth, more so because of its blended malt nature – it really has that rounded off edge style. Now for some people that level of polish can feel like a flaw, oddly enough. It can be seen as removing the interesting quirks. For me, if it is encountered too often, it can get dull, but as long as it is encountered rarely it can lead to interesting experiences like the one here. It creates a dessert wine of a whisky, one for a bit of a special occasion, it is too rich to have often, but is great to try as a well crafted one off.

Background; MWR is Mizunara Wood Reserve, or so google tells me. Google also tells me this is probably a blend of Hanyu and Chichibu whisky. Anyway, after my two hundredth whisky was a bit of a let down, but also free, I decided to go for a measure of something else – so I grabbed this. Again drunk at The Rummer hotel.

Miyagikyo

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.

Real Ginger Ale

Kiuchi: Hitachino Nest: Real Ginger Ale (Japan: Spice Herb Vegetable: 8% ABV)

Visual: Dark hazy cherry red. Medium cinnamon to brown tight bubbled head.

Nose: Ginger. Cinnamon. Barley.

Body: Ginger. Toffee. Barley. Brown sugar. Cinnamon. Cherries. Brandy cream. Raisins.

Finish: Digestives. Ginger. Toffee. Raisins. Fruitcake.

Conclusion: This is indeed a ginger beer. A real one even. Despite the time it must have taken to hit these shores it still feels raw and fresh in its expression of the ginger. When you drink the beer warm that is pretty much all you get. Ginger. That’s it. It pretty much dominates.

Chilled down you get something similar to a British ESB or maybe a lighter interpretation of a Belgian dark ale backing it up; There is those cherries and raisins and other such dark fruit below the surface. So definitely another beer better chilled.

Man, I can remember back when I hated chilling beer, how times have changed.

Anyway, chilled I kind of dig this, a dark fruitcake and sweet brandy cream body under sharp ginger spice is a surprisingly good combination. Even with that it still isn’t the most complex of things, it still basically is an alcohol ginger beer, but they have used the extra abv to give it extra weight and depth. You can spend longer examining and enjoying it than with most of its ilk.

As it warms the ginger comes back to the fore, subsuming the more malty elements. Overall it wont convert a non ginger beer fan, but it is far more beer like than most and gives you a lot in trade for the increased abv.

Worth a try.

Background: I have joked for a while that the more simple the name of a Hitachino Nest beer, the more likely it is to be good. Pale ale and Amber ale were more fun for me than Ancient Nipponia. This then misses the chance to drop the word real and just call itself “Ginger Ale” for a better chance of success. The ideal Hitachino Nest would probably just be called “beer” or maybe would have a blank label. Anyway, this was a gift from my mate Matt – many thanks guv. This was drunk while listening to some “Hate In The Box”, you know, for cheery times.

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