Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

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dramtastic
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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby dramtastic » Thu Apr 15, 2010 5:53 am

Yoichi Key Malt Peaty and Salty 55%

Nose: Salt(funnily enough) peat(mmmm), oak, peaches, bran, brine

Palate: Sweet and vegetal peat, sweet and bitter combo of vanilla and citrus, malt, sea spray.

Finish: Is of medium length, with a kind of citric peat, smoke, spice and cream.

87/100

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby dramtastic » Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:46 am

Suntory Pure Malt "ZEN" 40%

Nose: Gentle and fairly closed. Notes of pear, oregano, varnish or paint thinner, eucalyptus and salt and pepper.

Palate: Is smooth and soft, mainly malt and cream. Some nutmeg and pepper spice.

Finish: Is short, simple a bit dry/dusty then some mineral like qualities and bamboo shoots.

This is an uncomplicated malt, smooth, easy to drink, but lacks complexity.

75/100

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby hyperfuji » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:18 am

suntory hakushu 1989

n: sherry, nutty, rich dark fruit maybe very ripe cherries and plum

p: nice body with smokey sweetness, exotic woods, sherry

f: lingering plum wine

this one is good, very good

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby hyperfuji » Fri Apr 16, 2010 2:12 am

Spirit of Islay wrote:I do like the Screw tops on the Suntory bottles !


just opened my first suntory... the screw top feels very weird

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby dramtastic » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:43 am

Togouchi Aged 18 Years 43%


This is made by a company called Chugoku Jozo, mainly known for the production of sake and shochu. It is apparently matured in abandoned railway tunnels in the Japanese Alps. This is the only whisky they produce and is a blend.

Nose: Is soft and fruity mainly peach and pear. Some cereal notes of oats and bran, also varnish, white pepper and baked carrots. After about 10 minutes some oak comes into the picture.

Palate: Very clean malt, some white pepper, bran, cream, marzipan, sweet baked carrot, sweet corn.

Finish: Medium length, medium spice, and basically follows the palate. Leaves a feeling of white pepper covered bran on the palate.

Overall this is a very pleasant whisky and a first class effort for a company that only produces one whisky. Like a number of Japanese blends I've had, this doesn't come across as one(a blend).

84-85/100

Note: after about 20 minutes the nose produces a nice hit of malt.

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby johan brugge » Sun Apr 18, 2010 12:18 am

Here goes my very first Japanese whisky ever. It's a Karuizawa 1992 62.8% cask 6978.

Nose: (neat) sweet alcohol, flowers, fresh fruit (apples?), it's quiet malty. Very soft at this alcohol %. It makes me think of a very full bodied Speysider. (with water) After a few minutes it becomes amazing! I pick up diesel (yes, I do), seaweed, and some peat. I almost don't dare say it but it reminds me of a light version of the Laph 30 (!!!).

Palate: (neat) very hot on the tongue! The high alcohol percentage camouflages a lot of flavours. Yet I can pick some peat and some smoke. It's still somewhat sweet with some flowery notes. (with water) Much better! This becomes very complex. Walnuts, some tar. It's strange, but there is something and I just can't put my finger on it. Oh boy, it sticks to my cheeks!

Finish: hot (!!), peppery, a bit sweetish, walnuts and just a faint wiff of smoke.

Comments: this is SO different from the Scoth single malts whiskies I'm used to. It's a very peculiar whisky with a fantastic nose. A very good and complex whisky, mind you, but there is something 'mysterious' about it.

If I would have to score it, I would certainly give it minimum 90/100. With some oxidation I might pick up more flavours so the score might also change. I'll let you know.

P.S.: a big THANK YOU to dramtastic for the wonderfull advice!! I look forward to try the Cask of the Yamazaki 1993.
Last edited by johan brugge on Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby johan brugge » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:03 am

pkt77242 wrote:Nice notes Johan. DT has been corrupting us all when it comes to Japanese whiskies.

Thanks Sean. I have to admit it took my several months before I bought my first Japanese whiskies, thanks to DT. I will certainly try some more Japanese whiskies. Now I pick up some more tannine. This is great stuff!

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby Ras Mazunga » Sun Apr 18, 2010 1:48 am

A pleasure reading your notes guys.

Yamazaki 12 43%
n: sweet vanilla, lots of bourbon barrel, cocoos, beeswax, round, some rum, apples, quiet some oak.
t:orange/grape juice with oak. not as complex as the smell
f: mint with lemon,
c: the smell is the best, very complex I think. after that it all goes down a little. very recommendable. this was my first japanese whisky

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby Ras Mazunga » Sun Apr 18, 2010 2:25 am

Next is Hibiki 12 43%. In the folder accompanied by the bottle there is that this is a variety of malt and grain whiskies first matured in white oak casks later in plum liqueur casks. This whisky is bamboo charcoal filtered.

I was so stupid to eat some spicy salami, writing notes is nto really possible anymore now. :evil:

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby johan brugge » Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:44 pm

Cask of the Yamazaki 1993 Heavily Peated at 62% vol.
Cask nr. 3Q70048
Wood type: white oak
Distilled: May 1993
Bottled: June 2008

Nose: lots of peat straight away, even when opening the bottle I could smell it immediately. Some licorice, wet moss and a little bit of salt. With a little water is all much more nuanced. Somewhat sweeter and maritiemer too. Delicious!

Taste: again a lot of peat. It really lives up to it's name "Heavily Peated". It is remarkable that when consumed pure at 62% it remains perfectly drinkable. The balance is just perfect. With water you can taste so much more. Less pronounced peat. There is a flavour that I notice and that I had never tasted before. Some calls it lychees, but I don't know. My son really likes lychees so I recognize the taste and smell. It is fruity, though. And delicious! It is an oily whiskey (even with water) that lays a film on your palate.

Finish: peat, pepper (except for addition of water). Again some liquorice. With water everything remains much longer.

Comment: If you didn't know that it's a Japanese whisky, you'd never guess. Really. The tears of the whiskey run down in very thin lines. IF they get down all. They seem to stick for an eternity to your glass.

Score: a big fat 92/100!
Again a big THANK YOU to DT for the good advice!

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby hyperfuji » Mon Apr 19, 2010 5:55 am

pkt77242 wrote:Yamazaki 12

N: Ginger, gingerbread cookies, and banana. very malty. Hints of vanilla.
P: Vanilla, and malt. gingerbread cookies and banana bread. slight salt.
F: medium short on malt and vanilla. hints of ginger as well.

A nice whisky, not super complex but enjoyable.


i've tried the yama 12 twice since my purchase. i still dont get banana

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby dramtastic » Mon Apr 19, 2010 6:17 am

Mars Moltage Komagatake SM Sherry Cask 10YO 40%

Nose: Honey, sherry, blood oranges, lime, a little bit of oak, a kind of burnt toffee smell, and something maritime like seaweed.

Palate: Is biscuity, with some bitter chocolate, nuts, malt, toffee and smoke.

Finish: Mainly toffee, nuts, smoke and some lingering bitterness.

I have to admit that on first opening I didn't take much of a liking to this whisky and probably would have given it a score of around 73/100.
It's been open for around 7 months now and while never going to be a world beater it has improved quite a bit and scores 79/100. The smokeyness really saves it for me.

Actually if you like HP12 especially when it was had more smoke, you'd probably quite like this.

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby johan brugge » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:36 am

hyperfuji wrote:just opened my first suntory... the screw top feels very weird

I agree. It's like opening a cheap blend only it's a single malt of excellent quality in my case.

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby dramtastic » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:03 am

When you've screwed and unscrewed enough high quality Japanese screw tops, IMO it's corks that can start to feel a bit cheap(and that includes Japanese corks).
I have a lot of faith that the integrity of the whisky inside Japanese bottles that have screw tops will be of a high order for a long time.

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby johan brugge » Mon Apr 19, 2010 10:41 am

dramtastic wrote:and that includes Japanese corks

I believe that's true for the Karuizawa 1992! I have a plastic cork in a Bowmore, which I really hate. But that's another topic.

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby Ryguy » Wed Apr 21, 2010 1:40 am

Time for me to taste some Japanese whisky. :smoke:

Yamazaki 12yo 43%

Color: Pale gold

Nose: Some fruits (lemons), slightly floral with vanilla sweetness

Palate: Light and smooth, more fruits (citrus mostly), with a hint of spice

Finish: The finish is dry and woody (mostly oak).

Comment: Nice dram, many thanks to Ras for this sample! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby Ryguy » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:02 am

Nikka Black 43%

Color: Bright gold

Nose: Bourbon like vanilla sweetness, some citrus fruits

Palate: Smooth and sweet, more vanilla, slightly sour with notes of grain and cereal.

Finish: The finish starts bitter, then becomes sweet.

Comment: Many thanks again to Ras for this sample! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby Ryguy » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:09 am

Nikka from the Barrel 51.4%

Color: Light amber

Nose: Dry like vanilla sweetness, mix of dark fruits with a nice range of spices.

Palate: Starts smooth, very bourbon like. More dark fruits and spices, very peppery as well. Some sweet candied apples towards the very end.

Finish: The finish is long, very spicy with some sweetness at the end.

Comment: This is an excellent dram! I can't believe it's a blend. :shock:
Many thanks to Ras for this sample! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby dramtastic » Wed Apr 21, 2010 2:54 am

Ichiro's Choice Single Grain Whisky 1981 62.4%

Nose: Smooth for such a high abv, earthy, notes of chocolate, licorice orange and asphalt.

Palate: Again pretty smooth with soft grain, molassis, licorice, pepper and orange.

Finish: Medium length, soft oak, orange, licorice with a mix of some classic rum and bourbon like qualities.

A good if not outstanding grain whisky. Lacks the wow factor.

82/100

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby Ryguy » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:38 am

Karuizawa Vintage 1992/2007, 62.8%, Cask # 6978

Color: Dark gold

Nose: Big sherry with lots of dark sweet fruits.

Palate: Starts sweet then gets really powerful with a mix of raisins, dark berries/cooked apples. Very full mouthfeel and well balanced.

Finish: The finish is long, spicy yet sweet.

Comment: Wow, what a great whisky!! Thank you to Ras for this sample! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby Ryguy » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:50 am

Karuizawa Vintage 1985/2009, 60.8%, Sherry Cask # 7017

Color: Dark amber

Nose: Big sherry, drying (even on the nose), a touch of sulphur (but in a good way), hint of sweet blackberry.

Palate: Starts sweet and very dry, bits of raisins and dark berries, with some burnt rubber notes (not overpowering though).

Finish: The finish is very dry, long, spicy and sweet at the same time with a hint of smoke.

Comment: I like it! Many thanks to Sean for this sample!! :D :D

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby AshDLS » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:39 pm

I think this may be my first ever attempt at a tasting note...! By no means do I consider my nose or palate sensitive nor well-experienced so I've admittedly been a little hesitant to share my thoughts. But here goes! Received this bottle as a gift from a bartender-friend in Japan.

Mars "The Malt Of Kagoshima" 1984, 25yo, 46%, in sherry cask.

Colour: straight gold, but still lighter than I would've imagined.

Nose: there's something very unusual about this I'm having trouble picking out, but otherwise, on one occasion I had a rubbery/gummy sensation, another time there was definitely citrus there, grassy and oily on another.

Palate: Medium body, quickly turns spicy. Not an enormous amount of sherry, surprisingly. Dry and biting.

Finish: Not terribly assertive, but something burnt and slightly sweet seems to pop its head up every so often.

Interestingly it's a 720mL bottle... my friend explained that it's the equivalent of four gō - one gō being 180mL, the same volume as those small wooden boxes from which sake is drunk (and by which rice was measured, back in the day). Ten gō equals one shō, or 1.8L, the same volume as those enormous bottles of sake you often see at Japanese restaurants.

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby Ryguy » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:48 pm

AshDLS, excellent tasting note! Well done! There is no right or wrong with tasting notes, everyone has a different nose/palate, so notes can vary quite a bit. Thanks again for sharing, sounds like a very interesting bottle there!

I look forward to more contributions from you in the future, feel free to join us for the upcoming Live Tastings. :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby dramtastic » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:53 pm

That was great Ash, both tasting notes and history. Now that youv'e got that out of the way, how about the Hibiki 17, Yoichi 15 or whatever else you might have! :iwbrnt:

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby Ras Mazunga » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:10 pm

Collector57 wrote:
pkt77242 wrote:Ry, nice notes so far. Nikka from the Barrel looks like it needs to be on my buy list. :iwbrnt:

It's excellent and very good value, over here


22,95 Euro is incredible imo:
http://whiskyvanzuylen.nl/index.php?pag ... an&id=1806

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby Ras Mazunga » Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:34 pm

Compliment for the note AshDlS.

You've had those on the shelf for some time Ryan. I enjoy reading the notes.
:thumbsup:

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby smn » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:49 pm

I hope it is not considered to be too rude to post late to a live tasting thread but I just couldn't make it earlier.

Yoichi 12

The nose is today relatively mild and gives me light sherry and just a hint of peat. I'm a bit surprised as I typically get the 'temples' and/or antique wooden furniture, but not today. Must be something with my nose.

The mouthfeel is robust with a notable pepperiness perfectly matching the sweet sherry. Mild peat comes through in the aftertaste. The malt is sweet, there is a salty element too. Very very enjoyable. It feels lively yet refined. I'd imagine that if Talisker would release a really good <15yo sherried dram, it would taste somewhat like this.

After a couple sips more, the peat feels stronger in the aftertaste. This is exactly the way I like my peat these days :thumbsup:

Out of the basic Yoichi bottlings, this is probably my favourite. It's surprisingly different from the 10yo where the dominant cask type seems to be bourbon, and the 15yo which is milder and more refined. Unfortunately I haven't got the 10yo or 15yo handy for a head-to-head.

Next up, a single cask peated 1986 Miyagikyo.

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby Ryguy » Mon Apr 26, 2010 6:52 pm

Excellent note smn! It's never too late, in fact, the more notes the merrier! Thanks for sharing! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby smn » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:06 pm

Miyagikyo 1986/2008, cask #80283, 63%

Nosed neat, all I get is alcohol, peat and a hunch of sweet malt. The attack in the mouth is massive, sweet & peat with a peppery alcohol burn. The relative lack of oakiness is notable for the age. Needs water. A full teaspoon for the 2cl should be fine.

Now the nose shows some oak too. The sugary maltiness is strong but so is the peatiness. This turned out rather nice.

The mouthfeel if still a bit burning & peppery but much more enjoyable than neat. Miyagikyos malt profile is lighter and more Speysidy than Yoichis. There is also a certain 'marshmallow/marzipan' type of waxy sweetness that I can't really put to words properly. This is the second Miyagikyo I've tasted and both have shared this characteristic.

The peat is heavy. It's not exactly Islayish peat, no iodine ere, actually nothing resembling sea either. I would imagine a heavily peated Cragganmore could taste a bit like this.

I quite like it although these days I'm no longer really after the heavy peatings. I think this dram a bit simple with the peat & sweetness running the show. The best element here for me is the peppery aftertaste.

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby smn » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:09 pm

Ryguy wrote:Excellent note smn! It's never too late, in fact, the more notes the merrier! Thanks for sharing! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:


Thank you and my pleasure!

Gonna do a Yoichi SC next.

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby smn » Mon Apr 26, 2010 7:32 pm

Yoichi 1991/2007 cask #129493, 62%

Undiluted, the nose is a combination of the oriental wood smell so typical for Japanese whisky and delicate sweet sherry. The sherry influence is not heavy. No coffee, no citrus, no chocolate in this one. More like cherries or something. Obviously a lot of alcohol but for some reason it doesn't bother that much. It's a really nice nose, I could go on sniffing this forever. The lack of peat is noticeable, this is a lightly peated Yoichis.

The mouthfeel and taste are excellent. Perfectly sippable without diluting. The 2 years this bottle has been open must have mellowed it a bit, although it has always been easy. The Yoichi malt is robust, the flavour on this one is really strong. I get similar sherry than in the nose, the distinct malt, some apparently oak-related spiciness and some peat. The balance and depth are just perfect here, there is a massive burst of flavour without any element really dominating. The sherry in the aftertaste is long, sweet and delicate.

As with the Miyagikyo, water brings out some oak in the nose. The flavour opens up a bit and develops a light orange-like taste. The taste develops interestingly into two separate shows, the lightly dancing fruity sherriness and a heavy, slightly distant undercurrent.

As you can probably tell, I really really enjoy this. Top dram :thumbsup:

Got to quit for tonight, but I still have 3 more SC Yoichis and Yamazaki 18 to continue with, hopefully tomorrow..

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby dramtastic » Mon Apr 26, 2010 10:13 pm

Excellent contributions smn

I look forward to your other reviews

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby johan brugge » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:38 pm

smn wrote:I hope it is not considered to be too rude to post late to a live tasting thread but I just couldn't make it earlier.

Yoichi 12

The nose is today relatively mild and gives me light sherry and just a hint of peat. I'm a bit surprised as I typically get the 'temples' and/or antique wooden furniture, but not today. Must be something with my nose.

The mouthfeel is robust with a notable pepperiness perfectly matching the sweet sherry. Mild peat comes through in the aftertaste. The malt is sweet, there is a salty element too. Very very enjoyable. It feels lively yet refined. I'd imagine that if Talisker would release a really good <15yo sherried dram, it would taste somewhat like this.

After a couple sips more, the peat feels stronger in the aftertaste. This is exactly the way I like my peat these days :thumbsup:

Out of the basic Yoichi bottlings, this is probably my favourite. It's surprisingly different from the 10yo where the dominant cask type seems to be bourbon, and the 15yo which is milder and more refined. Unfortunately I haven't got the 10yo or 15yo handy for a head-to-head.

Next up, a single cask peated 1986 Miyagikyo.

You make we wanna buy a Yoichi 12yo, smn!!

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby smn » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:21 pm

Thanks everyone!

@Johan, go ahead, you won't regret it!

Yamazaki 18

Same effect as yesterday with the Yoichi 12, I don't seem to catch much on the nose. There is a fruity sweetness to it with something slightly acidic and a medium oak presence. On the mouth it starts syrupy sweet then develops quickly to a fruit / oak combination where the sweetness disappears. There is that certain type of oak-related acidic spiciness to it. Well balanced and delicious.

On the third sip this has developed into a rather oaky but lively show. No signs of tiredness and no oaky flavours that I would consider bad (cucumber, dry planks etc). There seems to be slight saltiness that I haven't really noticed before. The fruitiness is now more in the background. The aftertaste is of medium length and oaky.

I reckon there must be some sherry casks in this but the profile and strength of the oak is not from typical sherry. Maybe some new oak or even mizunara in the mix? Does anyone know the type of casks used?

Anyway, a good and interesting dram.

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Re: Japanese Whisky Live Tasting - April 10-24th

Postby smn » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:42 pm

Yoichi 1986/2008, cask #112112 59%

The nose gives curiously some leather, malt and a hint of peat. Must be the strong oak from the Yamazaki still in my mouth. There is also quite some oak present but in a much more subtle way. Vanilla.

When tasting the peat hits hard immediately. It's a rather clean peat profile with a peppery twist to it. Some malt and vanilla. Surprisingly dry with subtle oak.

With water the nose gives immediately way more peat than before. The vanilla gets stronger too. There is some cherries in the nose too. Very curious and it took me a long time to find the right words for it.

The mouth is now excellent! Strong peppery peat hits initially, then vanilla/cherry sweetness and the aftertaste dries away with a combination of all three elements. Noticeably sweeter than without the water.

Well, this certainly was curious and rewarding tonight! I'll leave some in the glass to breathe so I can get back to it after the other Yoichis.


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