November 2016: Japanese Blended Whisky

Japanese Blended Whisky, November 2016, by Philip Butler

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Japanese whisky is most often compared to Scotch whisky. They are unique because unlike Scotch whisky, Japanese whisky are not generally blended from whiskies outside of a single distiller. None of the whiskies listed below contain sourced whisky made outside their company.

Cocktail:

  • Name: Black Ship
  • Ingredients: 5 oz blended Japanese Whisky, 1 oz Pomegranate juice, .25 oz Port, 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • Recipe: Add all the ingredients into a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled Martini glass.

Bottle 1:  12 year    

  • Distillery: Chugoku JozoJapanese Whisky
  • Proof: 80
  • Price: $63
  • Purchase location: thewhiskyexchange.com
  • Tasting Notes:
    • Nose: green apples drizzled with lemon juice, oroblanco (green grapefruit), lime zest, buffalo mozzarella cannoli, a whisp of smoke and a tiny hint of peat
    • Palate: orchard fruits (green apples, most prominently), citrus accents (lemon meringue pie, candied lemon peel) and baked goods, marzipan, all-spice and delicate herbal notes
    • Finish: medium-long with a light, lingering sweetness (coconut scones)
  • Why this bottle is featured: Reviewed well but brand is completely unknown to me prior now. Often compared to the Hibiki.

Bottle 2: Togoughi 18 yearJapanese Whisky

  • Distillery: Chugoku Jozo
  • Proof: 88
  • Price: $102
  • Purchase location: thewhiskyexchange.com
  • Tasting Notes:
    • Nose: damp soil, wet leaves, grandma’s wardrobe, tinned peaches, pear drops and honeydew melon
    • Palate: sappiness from the wood, cereal notes, old bread, Danish pastries, salted caramel mousse, chili peppers and a distinct earthiness
    • Finish: long and drying on pine nuts and sunflower seeds
  • Why this bottle is featured: Reviewed well but brand is completely unknown to me prior now. Often compared to the Hibiki.

Bottle 3: Nikka 12 YearJapanese Whisky

  • Distillery: Yoichi and Miyagikyo
  • Proof:86
  • Price: $90
  • Purchase location: thewhiskyexchange.com
  • Tasting Notes:
    • Nose: fruits, malted barley, beeswax and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg)
    • Palate: Dark chocolate, malted barley, fresh fruits (apple, prunes, mirabelle and greengage plums, pear), honeyed and floral notes (lilac, lilly of the valley)
    • Finish: coconut milk and red berries (strawberry, raspberry), candied fruit (pineapple, clementine), tobacco and liquorice
  • Why this bottle is featured: This bottle is highly reviewed and is natural competitor to the Hibiki bottles.

Bottle 4: Hibiki Harmony Japanese Whisky

  • Distillery Suntory
  • Proof 86
  • Price $50
  • Purchase location: Jacobs Liquor
  • Tasting Notes:
    • Nose: rose, lychee, hint of rosemary, mature woodiness, sandalwood
    • Palate: honeylike sweetness, candied orange peel, white chocolate
    • Finish: subtle, tender long finish, with hint of Mizunara (Japanese oak)
  • Why this bottle is featured: I picked this bottle up randomly at Jacobs several months ago and it was the starting point for the rest of the bottles. It does have good reviews but I was just looking for something new.

Bottle 5: Hibiki 17 yearJapanese Whisky

  • Distillery Suntory
  • Proof 86
  • Price $219
  • Purchase location winebazaar.com via www.wine-searcher.com
  • Tasting Notes:
    • Nose: peach, apricot, melon, rose, lily, lemon leaf
    • Palate: toffee, black cherry, vanilla, and Mizunara (Japanese oak)
    • Finish: sweet, fruity, with lychee aftertaste
  • Why this bottle is featured: This bottle is the highest awarded bottle of the bunch. A supply of this bottle is rapidly becoming difficult to find due to demand.

Gentlemen devoted to the finest.

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