Dram Review: Yamazaki Mizunara Japanese Oak Cask Aged 18 Years 2017 Edition

[48.0%・18 Years Old・Bottled in 2017・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

The nose is fairly understated and reserved here, which in a way highlights the spectrum of flavours and how evenly they are arranged.  Coconut chips, pear puree and subtle cherry preserves stacking neatly against each other like kissing buttons on the cuffs of a well measured suit.  Soft white fruits chosen as a contrast to the uniqueness of the mizunara woodiness; traces of  thinning solvent, cinnamon powder and aloe vera syrup.  Needless to say, it’s rounded and delicate, but it feels more like a sub 45% rather than a 48%.

Palate & Finish:

A brush of light creaminess with the sweet cherries brightens up the tone.  The main delivery is smooth but uncharacteristically short, complimented by subtle fragrances and soft spices, with traces of dried orange, sultana and oak diligently laced through out.

Finishes with a hint of buttery croissants and a gentle brush of tannins, with the oak re-entering the scene late, fading out but leaving an assertive and drying impression.

Thoughts:

Ultra refined and sophisticated, even the non-believers would begrudgingly admit that the Suntory team did a masterful job marrying the casks for this release.

It’s not as expressive as previous releases but if you are well versed in Suntory’s philosophy, the subservient profile will hit you profoundly.

I thought of my SBGA011 when I was contemplating how to pen my thoughts on this dram.  The meticulously polished hour markers would catch the faintest ray of light and and give off the most satisfying reflection whilst the blue second hand glides over seamlessly.  I am mindful that the bulk population of the world probably thinks each and every Grand Seiko is more or less the same and I do admit at times I wish they would release something absolutely revolutionary; but just like this Yamazaki release, I enjoy the Snowflake immensely because of the sum of its every excellence..

Thank you Mr. Miyamoto and Mr. Woolley for running us through the release and thank you Ghe Blend and Liquid Ideas for organising the launch.

-Nicholas