Yet more amazing samples of Japanese Whisky have turned up with us from the lovely folks at No 1 Drinks Company, so to whet your appetite – we’ve done a few tasting notes…
Both Whiskies are from the closed Distillery, Hanyu, Located in southern Japan. Both will be available in late spring… Subscribe to our twitter feed, and we’ll let you know exactly when they come in…
Hanyu Cask# 9305 Number One Drinks Company 53.4%
Bottled by Number One Drinks Company
Nose: Very full and fruity, peaches, calvados, hint of bourbon too, that tangy fruity top note you get in bourbon.
Palate: Fruity, Sweet and sour, quite meaty, some mushrooms, tangy,
Finish: Becomes Drying, refreshers sweets.
Overall: Very good – meaty, but not over the top.
Judging the Book by Its Cover
You might remember, a couple of weeks ago we wrote a post about Highland Park Earl Magnus. As we watched it fly off our shelves we got talking about packaging, and how important it is for luxury commodities – especially whisky. (NB we’re by no means saying we think it was all style and no substance - the whisky was great, scrumptious even!)
Anyhoo, there’s been a recent spate of success stories, from imperialistic decanters to cartoons and artistic fonts. Now everyone’s jumping on the bandwagon, but there were those who did it first, and did it well.
One of the innovators was Jon, Mark and Robbo’s Easy Drinking Whisky Company. The trio were friends and whisky connoisseurs - brothers Jon and Mark Geary, and David Robertson of Macallan fame – and their whisky was a far cry from some of the passé and overly conservative malts around at the time. To make doubly sure everyone knew this, the whiskies were given downright modish names; The Smooth Sweeter One and The Rich Spicy One, bedecked with caricatures of swarming beehives and Middle Eastern marketplaces of Hessian sacks filled with loose spices.More...
It’s a very dreary Friday afternoon here at MoM towers. We’ve gone from a horrid frost at the beginning of the week to a grim, drizzly day today, and we’re in desperate need of a little cheering up! Luckily we have just the thing! A consignment of the new – well ok, not that new – Yamazaki Sherry Cask - a beautifully dark whisky limited to 16,000 bottles worldwide.
Sherry Cask was launched in late 2009, and although there have been sherry matured whiskies from Yamazaki before, this has a higher outturn and is slightly more youthful – it being made of whiskies of around 12 to 15 years of age.
Yamazaki was Japan’s first whisky distillery, and the first cask ever to be filled was a sherry cask. To this day, Spanish oak is specially selected from northern Spain, before the local coopers turn them into giant, 500 litre butts. They are then taken to Jerez in southern Spain for a three year seasoning with rich Oloroso sherry.
It's a bit like Christmas at MoM towers today, albeit with fewer board-games and no crap jokes (well, maybe just a few). A very exciting package has turned up from the smashing folks at the 'Number one drinks company'. It's their newest selection of cask bottlings, and some sneak previews of the very exciting new malts from Chichibu.
All of these bottlings are currently on a cargo ship from Japan, and should be available in the next two months, keep watching - we'll get them up as soon as they're in.
So - enough with the pre-amble and onto the malts. First up, we've got 3 single cask bottlings from (the now closed) Hanyu and the sublime Karuizawa distilleries:
With so many amazing Japanese whiskies on the market we thought we’d review one of our favourites – the Yamazaki 18 Year Old, a whisky from the more thickly sherried, savoury school of Japanese malts.
A little about the distillery…
Yamazaki was Japan’s first whisky distillery and it was built by Suntory’s founder, Shinjiro Torii, in 1923. In Japan there are only two major players in whisky: Suntory and Nikka. Between them they control almost every distillery in the country.
Because of this there is no trading of malt and grain whisky between companies (as is the practice in Scotland’s whisky blending industry). Distilleries must be as self-contained as possible, so Yamazaki houses a whopping 12 stills of different type and configuration, allowing the distillery to produce a range of whiskies.