I would like to put this on record, the White Oak Akashi I have tasted prior to this expression have been, to put it mildly, rather average.
Granted, the stuff I had were the recent releases; mostly NAS, others aged between 3-5 years. I never got the chance to sample their older offerings. So when I was at Bar White Oak, that was the bottle I jumped on almost immediately after seeing it.
On the nose, the stark contrast is immediately noticed. A dignified and regal mahogany note, there is a rich cheese influence from the sherry. Vague incense with a touch of burnt toast. An addictive coal smoke note lurking as well.
Blindingly sweet on the palate, the syrupy note is excessive but also very satisfying. Lemony with malted biscuits as the smoke develops. Intense date syrup with a heavy assertive woodiness coming on. Rustic and grungy, it’s a powerful whisky with a mean character.
It finishes off with the indulgence of chocolate mud cake and a vegetative note.
It’s a whisky that makes one asks, “what the fuck happened to Akashi?!”… I suppose it’s the dram to try if you have not experienced the glory of White Oak Akashi before.