Dram Review: Yamazaki The Owner’s Cask 1986 Butt/Mizunara

[51.0%・Distilled in 1986・Bottled in 2009・Cask No. 6B 0021・Official Bottling・Single Cask Release]

Nose:

Balsamic vinegar reduction laced on poached red apples that are fully ripen, with a creamy maltiness within. There is a stunning shrine woodiness, something that only develops after years of quiet maturation in a mizunara cask.

Palate & Finish:

Intertwining sweetness on the palate, caramel fudge alongside fruits that are ‘kanjuku’, alternating between the rich velvety note and a light fructose driven note that comes with a citrus edge.

There is a sake like rice sweetness that is rather clean and mesmerising, leading towards a subservient but seasoned finish of cherries and tobacco.

Thoughts:

It’s a special whisky where the oak absolutely gave its all to the spirit but in turn also took away certain qualities that would have elevated it to something truly unforgettable.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

Nicholas

Dram Review: Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013

[48.0%・Bottled in 2013・Official Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

Mmmmm the nose is satisfyingly rich. Premium leather, dark chocolate brushed with balsamic vinegar sauce. Bright dark fruits poached to a sticky reduction. Wine cured apricots and soft raisins bringing a wee citrus edge. A combination of moist oak and lightly toasted wood chips with a touch of cinnamon spices, rounded by a lovely creaminess.

Palate & Finish:

Flavours burst open on your tastebuds. Chinese style simmered coca-cola with a few slices of ginger and hint of cinnamon, coated by creamy café au lait and milk chocolate notes. The classic sherry influence presents itself in a balanced manner, the raisin note is assertive but it manages to intertwine smoothly into the narrative. Spices excite but swiftly fizzle out; the oak adds to the weight but doesn’t dominate the conversation, something only shared amongst a small number of old whiskies..

The creaminess lingers in the finish with the dark fruits steadily giving a citrus edge in the background. Hints of brown sugar and burnt toffee to provide the slight sweetness that sticks between the teeth. It’s sweet, but not in excess, with a hint of tobacco and leather to make this a chewy drop, closes off with just a faint dose of dark chocolate bitterness.

Thoughts:

What a dram! The fragrance just becomes more and more alluring in the glass long after the last drop had been tipped onto the tongue. Salivating stuff.

☆☆ [Highly Recommended]

Nicholas

Whisky Review: Yamazaki Heavily Peated 2013

Tasting Notes:

Yamazaki Heavily Peated

Style: Fragrant and Oaky

Nose:

Aroma of lively vanilla honey dripping onto barley, Autumn forest and shrine wood. Fresh beat from zested orange, pineapple and white pepper. A rather woody body which is slightly smoked and peated, faint notes of white flower and nectar.

Palate: 

Strike a few keys lower at the palate. Starts with a lick of orange vanilla syrup which is swiftly overrun by the mouth drying and bitter-ish oaky notes. Minimal, tantalising spice burn with an injection of smoke. Evasive almost Illusive soy sauce and wood incense fading in and out. Timber runs rampant, the peat is engulfed and hardly detected.
Ongoing dryness and the bitterness from the oak certainly exerted their influence throughout. The tone remain rather suppressed as very little honey sweetness was able to get through.

Finish:

Wood shed , roasted barrels, coffee beans combine and conjure a fairly heavy end note.

Thoughts:

I find it is more heavily “oak-ed” than peated”. It is a whisky which is both light and heavy – light bodied but with heavy woody notes, flavours resembles of tree barks, dried twigs and forest scent which dominated the proceedings. While the peat, orange and vanilla notes are more of some side decorative touches. That being said, there is still definitely a stronger peat presence comparing to other Yamazaki(s), giving it some extra dryness that others do not offer.

(48%/2013/OB/LR/NCF)

-Esmond

Dram Review: Hibiki 21 Years Old

[43.0%・21 Years Old・Bottled Circa. 2013-2015・Hibiki Bottling・Limited Release]

Nose:

A full but tender sandalwood and incense nose. Coconut and vanilla making a wonderful entry with an underlying plum sweetness. Grain spices appearing, the smoke is delicate with a lingering soft cocoa note. The fragrant note with a hint of pepper come through after some time. Fresh wood chips with faint notes of mint and thyme, a subtle raisin note.

Palate & Finish:

On the palate, plum sweetness with notes of ripe strawberries and a lime zing. A pinch of ground pepper excites the tastebuds. The sticky raisins then surface such that the sweetness makes a comeback. There is a coconut creaminess on the backend.

The grain spices disperse in the finish with traces of light cocoa notes upon an underlying oakiness. A faint hint of orange zing and Japanese ginger note. The soft fructose element lasts rather long, that slight floral vibe is comforting. It’s complex but not overpowering. A flavourful yet tender whisky.

Thoughts:

She’s a shy beauty with plenty on the mind, leaving a lot for one to explore.

☆ [Recommended]

Nicholas