Kategoriarkiv: Japan

Nikka All Malt

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Japan
Type: Blended malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 1
Impression: 2/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and malty. At first there’s a big round center of butterscotch and honey. There’s a ripe red apple note somewhere close behind. It’s very mild and there are no sharp edges what so ever. The oakiness is already present and it creates a thin layer on top of everything else. The butterscotch increase in intensity with time in the glass. This is not a complex nose and it is a bit bland and boring.

Mouth: It starts out with the butterscotch and a honey sweetness up front and a lemon sourness in the back. When the fruity note settles it becomes more like green apples. It feels a bit metallic and sharp in the background. It’s very dry and the oakiness is coming through very early. It soon basically takes over. The oakiness itself is not a pleasant one and it basically kills every other flavour.

Finish: The butterscotch comes through once again but is soon overpowered by the very dry and astringent oak. The oak is still not very nice and all that comes though in the finish is a metallic note in the back, presumed to be a telltale sign of a young distillate. This is an uninteresting whisky and it feels a bit over-oaked to push flavours through. The nose is the best thing about the experience.

Additional information
This is a vatted malt. The malts are from the Yoichi distillery and from the Miyagikyo distillery. It includes both pot stilled and coffey stilled malt from Miyagikyo. Cask type isn’t stated.

Tenjaku

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Japan
Type: Blended
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 1
Impression: 1/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and unpleasant. At first there’s a very sharp ethanol layer on top. Underneath there’s another layer with generic sweetness, vanillin and a metallic note. It’s very thin and grain spirit heavy. There’s a soapy note somewhere around the edges which can be described as floral or, with some imagination, green apples. This is a really unpleasant nose overall.

Mouth: It starts out with a metallic sweetness and the grain spirit up front. It takes a few seconds before other flavours appear. A thin maltiness and apples appear which makes it a bit better. The oak starts to shine through and a clingy butterscotch note soon takes over everything. There’s a bitterness coming through from the back which isn’t helping it along. It becomes much sweeter with time in the glass.

Finish: The finish starts out with basically every flavour just disappearing and it almost immidiately moves towards the oakiness. It starts out as a quite generic oakiness but then a very nice tropical fruitiness with a hint of cocnut appear, and the late finish ends up being the best part of the journey. This is not a very good whisky when considered as a neat pour.

Additional information
This japanese blend is supposed to be made from japanese made distillates only. The grain part is corn heavy. It’s aged in ex-bourbon barrels for 3-5 years.

The Matsui Mizunara Oak

ABV: 48 %
Origin: Japan
Type: Single malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 2/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is young and aromatic. At first there’s a young and fruity distillate coming through with green fruits and a base of wet cardboard. Above there’s a cloud of cinnamon and very fragrant oakiness. There’s also a thin sweetness in the center. The whole thing is very light and it really lacks richness and depth. With time the Mizunara oak becomes more pronounced and a bit of honey emerges from the sweetness. This is too light and uninteresting on the nose.

Mouth: It starts out very sweet. After a few seconds the fruity, young distillate sort of crawls up around the edges. The cardboard note persists. There’s a spicyness slowly increasing which gives it a much needed powerup. The fragrant oak is still creating a cloud above everything else. A liquorice root note start so appear somewhere in the background. It feels a bit richer on the palate, but it still holds a light character.

Finish: The spicyness makes a small last appearance but subsides fairly quick. The cardboard note is still very much in focus and it’s not fruity anymore. There’s still some cinnamon left while the fragrant oakiness takes over more and more, and it doesn’t take long before it’s all that’s left. The Mizunara oak gives it a special character but the finish ends quickly. It’s just not enough to give it an interesting profile. This is a rather boring whisky.

Additional information
This Matsui whisky is made at the Kurayoshi distillery and it’s aged in Mizunara Oak for an undisclosed amount of time. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

The Hakushu Distiller’s Reserve

ABV: 43 %
Origin:
Japan
Type:
Single malt
Bottles in collection:
0
Emptied bottles:
0
Impression:
3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and fruity. Honey and a vanilla oakiness sit on top of green grapes and apples and there are marzipan and pine notes somewhere in between. There’s also a veil of cooling mint surrounding everything else. The whole thing comes out very perfumey and it feels a bit young. After some time in the glass a lime note starts to emerge from the fruitiness. It feels a bit over-engineered, but it’s still a decent nose.

Mouth: It starts out extremely mild and it never really picks up speed. Fudge and a dusty honey sweetness arrive first and then the pine returns. There’s a strong coconut flavour and it’s much sweeter than on the nose. The fruitiness is sitting in the back and it’s now leaning towards oranges and just a small hint of raspberries. It still comes through as very perfumey.

Finish: A minty fresh start soon moves over to make room for a dusty oak. The fudge and the citrus freshness are still intact but pushed back into the background. There’s a top layer of honey and coconut. The marzipan returns and creates a bridge between the fudge and the oak. It’s a dry slightly bitter oakiness with a miniscule flavour of hazelnuts. This is an extremely mild and approachable whisky, but it is a bit uneventful and underwhelming.

Additional information
Hakushu distillery is owned by Suntory. This is the entry level in their core range. The content isn’t disclosed. It’s a mix of different ages and cask types.

Nikka From The Barrel

ABV: 51.4 %
Origin: Japan
Type: Blended
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is sweet and herbal. At first the high ABV together with the grain spirit create a cloud of acetone on top of a sweet vanilla butterscotch. The backbone is quite earthy with dry soil and dried herbs. There is an outside layer of assorted dark and dried fruits, but they are no way dominating the whole. There’s also a speck of dust floating around. This is a ”something good/something bad” kind of nose.

Mouth: It starts out very sweet and with a big vanilla flavour. After a few seconds the earthy, dry soil note returns and so do the dried herbs. There’s an anise note coming through quite early and it’s not especially pleasant. It sort of switches towards pine and dust after a few seconds which doesn’t help. There is a nice hint of ripe fruits coming through, but it’s not taking any steps forward. It’s way milder on the palate than on the nose. The oak do arrive, but it’s covered by the pine and anise.

Finish: A cloud of the acetone passes by and then it goes straight to a slightly astringent and vanilla sweet oakiness. There’s still an outer layer of dark and dried fruits and they’re more present in the finish. The oak delivers an extremely fresh oakiness, but there is still a dust note left behind. The pine note return in the finish and makes it take a turn for the worse. This is a well made blend with some good components, but it’s still suffering from its big grain spirit part.

Additional information
This blend was created in 1985. It consists of 40 % malt and 60 % grain. A batch is made from 120 casks, mostly first fill american ex-bourbon oak barrels mixed with sherry butts and refill hogsheads. The whisky is aged between 10-12 years, and the leading malt is Miyagikyo from the Sendai Distillery and whisky from the Yoichi distillery is also included.

Hibiki Japanese Harmony

ABV: 43 %
Origin:
Japan
Type:
Blended
Bottles in collection:
0
Emptied bottles:
0
Impression:
3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is dense and overly sweet. A thick desserty layer of baked red apples, marzipan and a thick layer of sweetness covers most of the nose. There’s caramel, honey and vanilla, but it’s mostly just a grain sweetness coming through. There’s a different kind of fruitiness sitting in the back, but it’s harder to pinpoint. It seems to come from the ex-sherry casks though. It’s leaning towards overly ripe plums. A hint of the mizunara oak comes through in small flashes.

Mouth: A mild start with vanilla and minty freshness soon changes into a grain note. After a few seconds the fruitiness comes through together with a now much stronger Mizunara oakiness. It’s very distinct and hard to miss. It brings a touch of bitterness to the mix. The fruitiness is now coming from ripe red fruits. An anise note has now appeared. It’s not as grain heavy as on the nose and it’s less sweet. There are still notes of honey and caramel though.

Finish: First there’s just a big hole where the taste should be and then the sweetness returns. The fruitiness is now residing in the back. It then quickly becomes quite oaky. It’s a slightly dry oak with a clear note of anise attached to it and it is a touch bitter. The finish is quite short and just a feint hint of the oakiness stays around. The whole thing feels a bit a unbalanced throughout and the grain spirit really brings down what could have been a great whisky. It’s still a better blend than many alternatives out there.

Additional information
Japanese Harmony is a blend made with malt whiskies from Yamazaki and Hakushu and grain whisky from Chita. It’s aged in 5 different cask types. Disclosed types are american white oak casks, ex-sherry casks and Mizunara oak casks.

Akashi White Oak NoAge

ABV: 46 %
Origin: Japan
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is fruity and very floral. At first there are baked red apples, marzipan and a bouquet of flowers. The background consists of fudge, vanilla and a thick base of honey. A thin but noticable savory note can also be found in the back. A thin veil of dust covers everything. It’s quite nice on the nose.

Mouth: It’s very mild at first but soon a small spicyness kicks in. Anise and dry soil sit together with apples, honey and fudge. Bitterness comes through quite early and it brings some astringency with it. When the oakiness comes through it sits in the back of the palate. It’s very different from the nose. Not as sweet and quite unpleasant. It feels underaged and a bit harsh.

Finish: The finish is quite uneventful. A small whiff of alcohol with a small visit to all the things the mouth brought and then going directly to the oakiness. There are some bitter notes lingering with coffee and a small bunch of walnuts. A hint of the savory note returns somewhere down the line. It’s a bit disappointing overall since the nose makes promises the taste can’t keep.

Additional information
White Oak is the distillery name and not cask type declaration. It’s called NoAge, but it’s about 5 years old. It’s matured for 3 years in american ex-bourbon oak barrels and 2 years in ex-sherry casks. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Kaiyo The Peated – First Edition

ABV: 46 %
Origin: Japan
Type: Blended Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 2/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is young and thin with a hint of peat. The distillate is very much present. There are feint notes of a vegetable peatiness and some honey. An aura of nail polish remover sits over everything. There’s a tonic water note in the center and maybe just a small hint of green apples. There’s also a metallic note and it’s got a layer of cardboard in the back.

Mouth: It starts out with a thin honey sweetness and a peat which is a mix of wet vegetation and smoked meat. The tonic water is also found in the taste. The metallic note is in there as well as the cardboard. It gets sweeter and a little bit better with time in the glass.

Finish: An ABV spicyness comes first and then it returns to the now clearly savory peat and the cardboard note. An oakiness comes through fairly quickly and it’s got a nice newly cut oak feel to it. Together with the smoked meat note the finish is actually not that bad. This feels underaged and it lacks a lot of depth and flavour.

Additional information
This is a blended malt made from undisclosed japanese distillates. It’s aged at sea in fresh japanese mizunara oak casks. The casks are only filled to 80 % to give the whisky chance to move about on the journey. It’s bottled in Great Britain.

Kamiki Blended Malt – Intense Wood

ABV: 48 %
Origin: Japan
Type: Blended Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 2/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is all about the cedar wood. The wood influence from the finishing period is very pungent and overshadows everything at first. Underneath a thin note of butterscotch fights to get noticed. There’s also a pine note and a tiny amount of percieved peatiness in the back. A veil of menthol sits on top of the wood. A vanilla note comes through after some time in the glass making it a bit more agreeable.

Mouth: It starts out spicy and dusty. It’s quite sweet and some fruitiness like red apples and mulled wine is coming through. Soon the cedar wood takes over again. It’s bitter and very unorthodox for a note found in whisky. It makes the whole thing very perfumey and it’s not a pleasant flavour.

Finish: The dustiness and spicyness is flaring up again and they are quite nice. They soon get overpowdered by the cedar wood again. The fruitiness and the vanilla manages to get through somewhere in the middle but it soon turns over to the perfumey and bitter cedar once again. This is a weird whisky and I really don’t know what to make of it. It’s a dram in a wooden cup in a woodshop.

Additional information
This is a blend which contains whisky from Japan, but also from the rest of the world. It’s not stated from where and which distilleries. The japanese part probably comes from Helios distillery. It’s finished in japanese cedar (Yoshino-Sugi) casks. No information is given about the first maturation part. It’s unchillfiltered and has natural colour.

Kura The Whisky – Rum Cask Finish

ABV: 40 %
Origin: Japan
Type: Blended malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 3/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is ashy, sweet and fruity. There are notes of a big bucket of pears, cold ashes after a BBQ and honey sweetness. There’s a savory note in the dead center. It feels somewhat manufactured and all the different pieces just aren’t put together properly. They kind of float by themselves without touching each other. The peatiness is nice, the fruitiness and sweetness are nice and the savory note is, well… nice. But they seem not to be connected. A small hint of cardboard is also found in the background.

Mouth: It starts out very ashy and spicy. The pears are pushing the ashes aside and the cardboard note is now coming up to the front and that makes it a bit unpleasant. It’s still savory and a dry oak shows up on the palate. Somewhere along the line a butterscotch note appears. It turns slightly bitter after a few sips. It’s still very fruity though. It still feels disconnected and unsettled.

Finish: The fruitiness is now taking control and the peatiness and ashes almost disappear altogether. The oak arrives quite late. It’s dry and a little bit dusty. The savory note returns and just a whiff of the ashes return late in the finish. A vanilla note comes through the oakiness in the end. It’s a decent dram, it just feels like an unfinished puzzle, where the pieces on their own look… nice.

Additional information
Kura the whisky is a blended malt from the Helios Distillery. It’s made from 3-18 YO sourced whisky from Scotland and finished in ex-rom casks in Japan.

Suntory Whisky Toki

ABV: 43 %
Origin: Japan
Type: Blended
Bottles in collection: 1
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 2/5

Tasting notes
Sample in queue. Tasting notes pending.

See the queue here.

(Scribbles)

Nose: Fresh and fruity, grain spirit shows through, a bit thin and brittle, no deep notes.

Mouth: Sweet, light and a bit watery, some butterscotch comes through, very mild all the way through. A speck of dust and some saltiness shows up in the back.

Finish: A hint of spices and grain, some astringency, ends in a quite pleasant oak finish.

Additional information
Toki is primarily a blend of Hakushu malt aged in American oak and grain whisky from Chita. The blend also includes single malt from Yamazaki aged in American and Spanish oak.

The Kurayoshi 12 YO – Pure Malt

ABV: 43 %
Origin: Japan
Type: Blended Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 4/5

Tasting notes
Nose: This is very fruity and floral. There’s foremost green fruits. Pears and grapes are its main features. There’s not much of a cask influence at first but some notes of vanilla, honey and a dusty oak continuously move forward as time passes in the glass. The distillate is coming through and there’s a cardboardy note in the background. It feels a bit brittle but sweet and friendly.

Mouth: This is very mild and quite dusty. It’s got an immediate bitter baseline and the honey sweetness is up front together with the fruitiness, which now has turned more towards red juicy apples. The oak arrives early and the vanilla is a little more pronounced now. There’s a spicy touch to it but patience is needed to find it.

Finish: A bit ”boozy” at first. A big spike of green fruitiness comes back but quickly gets covered with vanilla and honey. After a while everything gets overpowered by the oak. The oakiness is very pleasant with a nuttiness to it. It’s a mix of walnuts and hazelnuts. There’s no astringency whatsoever even though the oak tastes like there should be. It’s a long and quite pleasant finish. It lacks some depth and character, but it’s a very nice experience overall.

Additional information
This is created by the Matsui distillery. The ”pure malt” statement refers to the fact that its content is a mix of Japanese and Scottish malts aged in american ex-bourbon oak barrels, in Japan.

The Yamazaki 12 YO

ABV: 43 %
Origin: Japan
Type: Single Malt
Bottles in collection: 0
Emptied bottles: 0
Impression: 5/5

Tasting notes
No taste notes were recorded during the tasting.

Additional information
The Yamazaki 12 YO was first released in 1984. It’s primarily aged in american ex-Bourbon barrels, but spanish ex-Oloroso sherry casks and Japanese Mizunara oak casks are also used.