Expression: 10 year old
I don’t have a lot of experience with Japanese whiskies, but I know people who prefer them (by a large margin) over Scottish ones. There seems to be quite a following for malts from the far east, which sometimes seems to give it a cult-like status. However, these people are still whisky enthusiasts, so they must know what they’re talking about. This particular whisky has aged in Bourbon barrels for its entire maturation. Therefor, I expect a fruity, maybe floral, refreshing malt. So, let’s see where the Japan-heads (which is what I call them) are coming from.
Nose: Refreshing indeed. Lovely big barley notes, along with light fruits like apricots and green apples. Floral as well, like a field full of spring flowers. Now there’s a cereal note, grains and maybe even baked goods. Big vanilla sweetness and a slight lemony-sour note as well. Some spices now too, dry powdered spice. Strong oak.
Taste: I was expecting a sharp mouthfeel here because of the big oak at the end of the nose, but on arrival this is quite mellow. Vanilla sweetness first, with that big malty aroma coming on strong. The spice is here now too, which now makes the mouthfeel sharper indeed. Still, nothing overly so. The cereal note is not as strong now, but the oak definitely makes a big appearance.
Finish: Drying at first, with the spice and oak doing their thing. After that the fruits returns, together with the floral and vanilla notes. Quite a bitter edge to everything though, due to that big oak influence. That malty note really seems to be the undertone to everything from start to finish in this whisky. I’d say this has a medium length finish and because of the slight sharpness later in the taste, everything sticks around just that bit longer.
Overall: This is of course quite an ‘ordinary’ whisky, with its 10 years of age, so based on this I can’t really give a definite opinion on Japanese whiskies in general. However, the start is promising. This is quite a big malt for its age, full in flavour and a really pleasant thing to taste. The bitter edge might be a bit off-putting, showing a slight lack of sophistication here, but what can we expect for a 10 year old, really. On the whole, I rather enjoyed this whisky and it makes me curious about other Japanese expressions. There are many to try, so I’ll look out for them when I get the chance.
Rating: 3 stars