Japanese whiskies are crafted in the Scottish style. We find they lie between Lowland and Speyside in style. Delicate and perfumed with honeyed sweetness. One regularly hears them described as being smooth, but that is doing them an injustice. Light sherry and floral notes, sometimes they have been peated for a smoky, quasi Islay style.
The White Oak Distillery is located in the city of Akashi in the Hyogo prefecture. This distillery received its distillery license in 1919 but only really began using it for whisky in 1984; prior to that it mainly (and still) was used for saké and barley shochu production. Distilling whisky only one to two months a year, production is very small. This is a non-age statement blended whisky, but it is likely around 3 years old and is aged in ex-bourbon before finishing in ex-sherry casks.
Tsunagu Mars Whisky is a blend bottled for the Japanese department stores Isetan. Surprisingly complex and sweet, it developes an attractive range of fruity flavors close to those of single malts aged in sherry casks, completed with an elegant light peat.
For its first collaboration with Isetan, the small Shinshu distillery team has created a blend composed of ; young single malts lightly peated aged in Bourbon barrels and French oak casks used for the maturation of Japanese red wines from Yamanashi, and grain whisky produced in another site of Hombo Shuzo, the company which is owning Mars Whisky.
Non chill filtered and bottled at 46% of the volume, Tsunagu blended whisky is a limited edition only available in Japanese department stores Isetan.
This special bottling has been produced in Shinshu distillery, built in 1985 at 700 meters above sea level in the heart of the Japanese Alps, which remained asleep for a few years, but in operation again since 2011 with the production of a new single malt Komagatake "The Revival" 2011.
This is a blend of multiple types of malt and grain that Nikka reserves. Nikka From the Barrel was created to deliver full flavors and richness of whisky "from barrels" which only blenders can sniff and taste. As the whisky contains so many characteristic components at a higher alcohol of 51.4%, it is essential to let the liquid "marriage" in used casks for 3-6 months for it to stabilize and harmonize. The concept of the unique short squared bottle is "a small lump of whisky", which perfectly visualizes the rich and strong taste of the whisky inside.
Pungent and oily nose with lots of toasty, sweet oak. Some malty notes begin to appear and the oak takes on a sawdusty, mature demeanour. With time some spices amble through. The palate is gentle and soft with citrus, mature honey and gentle smoke and spices. It takes it’s time to unfold. Medium length with quite a hot but spicy finish.
Blackcurrant Ribena, tingling and fragrant nose. A surprise on the palate, full, peaty, and spicy. A long and peaty finish. A savoury whisky to accompany smoked cheese or pickled fish.
Toffee, coffee ice-cream, maple syrup. Clean, sharp and bitter orange and citrus notes, but ordered and quite complex. Spice suggests age. Curiously captivating, with a sweet and sour ping pong match and a hint of smoke.
Sweet, sharp and spicy on the tastebuds.
A perennial favourite and a must-try for anyone interested in discovering Japanese whisky. Hakushu is owned by Suntory, founders of the first Japanese distillery, Yamazaki. The original Hakushu distillery was built in 1973, with another distillery building called Hakushu Higashi (west) added in 1981.
Hibiki is Suntory's flagship blended whisky. This is an award-winning premium blend packaged in a decanter style bottle. Made with aged malt and grain whiskies at least 17 years old, from the Hakushu and Yamazaki distilleries plus some aged grain from Chita.
" Nose: Ripe soft and pillow like with hints of smoke and toasty wood. Citrus leaf, cocoa, cooked apricot, ripe banana, hazelnut giving a crunch. Palate: Toffee sweetness stretches along the palate. Very clean and clear. Sweet with sultana and cherry. The finish is long and silky. Relaxed and laid back. This is excellent blending"
Hibiki 21 was named World's Best Blended Whisky at the 2014 World Whiskies Awards and was awarded 96 points in Jim Murray's 2014 Whisky Bible. Dr. Whisky says it's 'Unbelievably balanced, and dangerously drinkable'. So basically, it's pretty good stuff!
Nose: Sweet, caramalised nuts, some lemon acidity, blackcurrants and pears with vanilla, dark toffee and rich sherry spice.
Palate: Oak, dark cherry and sweet caramel notes, buttery with a wisp of smoke and some wood spice.
Finish: Long, with a hint of smoke.
Overall: A fantastic Japanese whisky.
Size: 700 ml
Yamazaki is Suntory’s flagship single malt, multi-layered with fruit and Mizunara aroma.
From Yamazaki was born the surprising, delicate yet profound experience of a Japanese single malt. Spiritual and deep, its signature multi-layered taste is highly praised by whisky connoisseurs all over the world. Today, Yamazaki is not only the No.1 single malt whisky in Japan, but is enjoyed in more than thirty-five countries.
Leading Japanese Whisky with aromas of dried fruit and honey. It has a delicate, mellow taste with a lingering woody dry finish. For Scotch drinkers looking for something different.
This is an elegant crystal version of the iconic Glencairn Glass.
The Glencairn glass is a glass specifically for the whisky drinker. It size and shape has been perfected to accommodate a 35ml pour, allowing for addition of water but keeping an optimum amount of liquid in contact with air to allow the aromas to develop. The tapering mouth allows for an ease of drinking whilst capturing the all-important aromas. The wide crystal bowl enhances the appreciation of the whisky's colour whilst the solid base is designed to be easy in the hand but robust enough for the discerning regular whisky drinker.
Since its launch in 2001 the glass has won numerous awards including the Queens Award for Innovation.
A very well made single malt from Japan, Yoichi is the jewel in Nikka's crown, their 10 year old offering notes of vanilla and fruit. One batch of this received 93 points in the Jim Murray Whisky Bible. Elegantly peaty single malt from Nikka's beautiful Yoichi distillery in Hokkaido, where whisky is made as it used to be in Scotland with small direct-fired stills and matured in the finest wood the company can find. Bottled at 45% for extra oomph.