Tag Archive: Umeshuu

Suntory: Yamazaki Aged Umeshuu (Japan: Umeshuu: 17% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold.

Nose: Sweet plum and figgy pudding. Golden syrup. Marzipan and toasted marshmallow.

Body: Thick and syrupy. Vanilla toffee and golden syrup. Honey. Plums. Mild whisky notes. Treacle. Fig rolls. Toasted teacakes.

Finish: Plums. Toasted teacakes. Golden syrup. Marshmallows and white chocolate. Fig rolls. Raspberry yogurt. Blended whisky air. Cherries to glacier cherries.

Conclusion: Ok, I’m split on how to describe it- as there is not a huge amount of whiskyesque notes about this – but they do definitely influence the proceedings. Best thing I can say, is that if you are looking to grab this for the Yamazaki then I would say look elsewhere- even if actual Yamazaki is stupidly expensive at the moment – however if you are an Umeshuu fan who also happens to like a bit of whisky then the time in the oak, and the addition of a touch of whisky has definitely given this a different twist.

The base comes out as a slightly drier take on an Umeshuu – still quite syrupy and very thick with sweet honey and golden syrup notes but less overwhelming with a drier, toasted teacake backing note that takes this notoriously sickly drink and makes it a bit easier to drink and a touch more complex with the savoury contrast.

The oak ageing does seem to add similar to what I would expect from bourbon cask ageing for whisky – marshmallows, toasted notes, vanilla toffee and white chocolate. Nice, soft, sweet rounding notes that actually soften the more raw artificial sweetness of some umeshuus. Others I have spoken to have noticed a sherry influence, but for me that seems to tie more closely to the base umeshuu – as always I could be wrong.

So, all this way in and I’ve not mentioned the actual plums yet, whatsupwiththat right? That is a fairly big part of a plum liqueur. Well, while it takes a few sips to show mid body, it is instantly there top and tail – lots of plums, figs and other varied dark fruits in general. Then as you get acclimatised to the sweetness it shows mid body as well. The oddest note’s a raspberry yogurt thickness that actually reminds me of Yamzaki 12, but I could just be being easily influenced by knowing the drink’s backstory.

I’m far from a Umeshuu expert, but this sits just on the edge of the right side of too sickly and has a good amount of range to really enjoy, more than I associate with my other experiences with this style of drink. Sweet plums over toasted texture dryness with whisky high notes makes an altogether good experience by me.

Background: This is something brought back from Honk Kong after I saw it in the airport’s duty free. Glad I did – looks like this doesn’t have an official release in the UK and import prices are insane. At the airport it came in at around 35 quid (give or take depending on exchange rate) which was much more reasonable. Anyway, what is it? Something that turns up very rarely on this blog – Umeshuu aka plum liqueur. I only rarely do notes on similar things, but this has a special twist that makes it, maybe, just about applicable for the blog. The drink has been aged in toasted ex Yamazaki whisky casks, and mixed with some Yamazaki that had been aged in Umeshuu casks, to make for a very incestuous drink relationship. Ok, yeah, I don’t normally do whisky liqueurs either- I’m mainly do this one for my own enjoyment. Anyway, I’m guessing this is being made as a gimmick release to let them get as many releases out of their limited stock. Yamazaki is highly in demand and a lot is being held back for aged releases so current releases are very tight. Well, it worked, I bought one.


Home Made Umeshuu

Home Made Umeshuuu (Plum Wine) May 2002 Edition (Japan: Umeshuu: Unknown abv)

Visual: Honeyed to apricot, and very viscous.

Nose: Marzipan. Plums. Sugar dusting and stewed apricots.

Body: Honey. Plums. Almonds. Marzipan. Very thick texture. Syrup soaked sponge.

Finish: Stewed banana and honey. Plums.

Conclusion: My first umeshuu review! Ok, there is a good chance some of you have never tried plum wine, so I may have to set the scene. Depending on the quality, these things can go from cloying level syrupy sweet and simple, to quite delicate and complex. They are often drunk with ice, and I tend to find that the cheaper they are, the more sickly they are without soda or ice. The higher quality I tend to prefer neat, and drunk by the measure.

This one is sweet and thick, but comes with sweet almond and marzipan in a delicate touch over heavy syrup sweetness. The plums are well defined, rich and full with a good character of the actual fruit, but despite that are actually a secondary note behind the marzipan. You find the fruit greeting you after the initial sweetness has worn down.

That sweetness in the front, rather than being fruity, is closer to honeyed, though not quite to the level to give the impression of mead. It wavers close to being sickly, but relies on the delicate marzipan to make it less syrupy sweet. It doesn’t make it less sweet, but gives a less cloying nature to it that makes it very easy to drink.

A surprisingly delicately touched, fruity and lovely umeshuu.

Background: So, something a bit different here. My friend came back from visiting his wifes family in Japan, and brought back some home made uneshuu with them. They offered me the chance to do a review, and in the style of Beowulf Mead, I decided to give it a shot. Made in 2002 and drunk tail end 2013, this was a treat to be offered. This is a bit of a simpler review than normal as I am nowhere near an expert on umeshuu, so can’t do my usual comparisons (not that I’m an expert on beer and whisky either, but I do my best!). I only had my phone camera with my so the photo is a tad more rubbish than usual. Many thanks for the kind chance to try this umeshuu. どうもありがとうございます

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