I don't know if or when Japanese whisky will come to Canada. I do know that the prices I have seen in the States are often lower than the prices I see here. Not always, but often.
If you do have a chance to try Japanese whisky take it. Especially Nikka expressions, anyway, that is what floats my boat.
I remember you saying that the Nikka Single Cask that you had in Paris tasted just like Buffalo Trace. I haven't had that. Your post has made me curious to try it. I have never really thought that any of the Nikka whiskies that I have had tasted just like a bourbon. There may be elements in common, like a strong vanilla note or maybe a brown sugar sweetness, which might go some way toward explaining my liking for Nikka whisky. (For anyone who doesn't know me from earlier posts, I am primarily a bourbon drinker.) Still, some elements are not present that are in bourbon. Not sure I could parse it all out as tasting notes, but the Nikka whiskies I have had are clearly not that similar to bourbon IMO. Most of my favorite Nikkas have a noticeable peat smoke note, some a fairly powerful smokiness. There are a couple, Nikka Super and Clear Black 8 year old both of which are blends, that I want to go back to and taste to see if they resemble bourbon more than I remember. It should be interesting.
I have had two of the three. Booker's is one of my favorite bourbons. I have had two bottles both of which came from the same barrel. I have had it a couple of times in bars too. Different barrels, I think. I will be buying another bottle soon. I have had a couple of bottles of Knob Creek and like it a lot, too. I have an open bottle of that now. I will be having a pour of that sometime soon. I haven't had the Baker's yet as it is more expensive than Booker's though I understand it is usually the other way around in other markets. Knob Creek can cost as much or more than I usually pay for Booker's too, though I can sometimes find it more reasonably priced. when I do I grab a bottle.
All of these come from Jim Beam. Have you had Jim Beam Black? It is well liked by a lot of my bourbon friends. I think it is good but usually find myself drinking something else.
Have you tried any of Buffalo Trace's fine bourbons?
I tried Baker's for the first time recently and really liked it. Well worth trying and the frutiest of the JB range for me.
Basil Hayden's is right down there with JB white as one of my least favourite whiskies.
As Ed implies, you gotta try Buffalo Trace products if you haven't already: Eagle Rare 17yo, Sazerac Rye, George T. Stagg, Buffalo Trace and Blanton's (to name a few). These are all great whiskies and will regularly be listed in many American whisky fan's top 5.
I have limited experience with American whiskies but really enjoyed the Buffalo Trace and look forward to trying the others from the distillery.
Can we say Jim Murray's name on the forum now without Revilo freaking out? Is it safe again?
Is that just it? Is there a bigger web captures "Full Bodied" Japanese whiskey history and knowlege?
Keep an eye out for the older expressions of Hibiki (by Suntory), Taketsuru (by Nikka), and Yamazaki (also by Suntory), as they will provide you with a good cross-section of Japanese styles. If Yoichi is available, all the better.
Please report back on the tasting. I drank a lot of Japanese whisky over the last year and have my own preferences, but I would love to hear what your impressions are.
Yes, I'm looking forward to tasting the Yoichi as I get the impression it's rather good. I think it'll be the only Japanese whisky featured on the tasting because it's sort of a "world of whisky" tasting. I've been told we are to try out an absolutely awful Thai whisky as well..........
I'm just reading some of the earlier posts and I thought I'd tell you my experiences with Japanese: I've tried two.
A friend purchased the Yoichi 12yr that is sold by LCBO ($120) and we tried that... here are my notes:
Nikka Yoichi 12yr Single Malt 45% ABV
Nose - 24
Slight peat jumps out early; strong pears/apples, touch of citrus, right in your nose
Taste - 23
Touch of peaty smoke and a touch more of rich dried apricots
Finish - 23
Long finish with a touch of fresh hand rolled tobacco
Well balanced - 24
Total Score - 94
I was really impressed with this one! It was wonderful! I've since tried it one more time and was just as impressed. NOTE: DO NOT ADD WATER! It immediately washes away all flavour and nose. Trust me! Don't do it!
The second is one that I own; I got a friend who is a flight attendant to pick it up in London England from a great shop, Royal Mile Whiskies:
Suntory Hakushu 12yo 43.5% ABV
Colour: Pale Gold
Nose - 24
Fruity, with wispy peat and light honey
Taste - 24
That wispy smoke you sense on the nose, along with tons of ripe (overripe!) fruit, delicious!
Finish - 23
Lingering burn, but quick finish
Well balanced! - 23
Total score: 94
Again, DO NOT ADD WATER! Since I own this bottle (paid $48pds, approx $99CAN) I try it from time to time... and I'm consistantly impressed!
I hope this review helps out anyone who's wondering. These whisky's are indistinguishable from Scotch Whiskies. They are both excellent and easily beat out many of the SM Scotch Whisky I have in my collection.
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