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Konnichiha from Japan: Japanese Whisky Tastings

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Konnichiha from Japan: Japanese Whisky Tastings

Postby peergynt323 » Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:59 am

Hello all. I'm visiting my girlfriend's family in Japan right now, and I happened to pick up a five-pack of miniatures from the local super department store. Thought I'd share my notes with the board. These ones are a little hard to come by in the states, but not exactly premium (I'm guessing). Here goes:

1) The Blend of Nikka Maltbase Whisky (NAS)

Nose: a bit harsh and alcoholic. Dominated by sweeter grain notes. But some good maltiness in the background.
Palate: Better than expected. Quite sweet, very young, and not at all complex.
Finish: Quite long, but harsh and uninteresting.

2) Rare Old Super Nikka Whisky (NAS)

Nose: Noticeably mellower than #1, but still rather uninteresting.
Palate: Caramel, nutty, comes off a bit like the inside of a candy bar.
Finish: Quite long, but again, rather harsh and numbing. Noticeable alcohol.

3) The Suntory Old Whisky

Nose: Quite good. Softly sweet, a bit of toasted marshmallow, and again, caramel.
Palate: Eek, very harsh and alcoholic. Bad surprise.
Finish: Long and dominated by harshness.

4) Suntory Royal 12yo (blend)

Nose: Intense but restrained. Decent complexity. Buttery. Reminds me a bit of old Pulteney. Sweet.
Palate: Nice malty notes and sweetness with a hint of eucalyptus.
Finish: Quite decent, but again a bit numbing.

5) The Hakushu Single Malt Whisky 12yo

Nose: A great pleasure to get into single malt territory. Eucalyptus, apples, mint.
Palate: Flavorful, plenty of candied apples, toffee, pine resin.
Finish: Still a bit harsh, but complex and persistent with a wisp of smoke.

Last night we found a bar downtown with a rooftop lounge that served Nikka Yoichi 12yo. I don't have any formal tasting notes, but I remember thinking that it tasted like a very high quality version of Caol Ila. Incredible nose with restrained barbecued beef smoke and shellfish. Elegant on the palate and persistent finish. Very impressive, especially given the setting.

I'm going to go whisky hunting on Tuesday (it's a holiday weekend here) and see if I can bring home some real rarities.
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Re: Konnichiha from Japan: Japanese Whisky Tastings

Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:00 am

God notes, thanks for sharing.
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Re: Konnichiha from Japan: Japanese Whisky Tastings

Postby peergynt323 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:20 am

I tried a couple more at the hotel bar last night. No formal notes, just general impressions.

Suntory Hibiki 17yo - I hadn't heard of this one before, but I pegged it for a blend. It seems that they are doing their best impression of Johnny Walker Gold--and a decent job of it. Not a lot of excitement, but smooth and probably a nice dram for a sunny summer day.

Nikka Taketsuru 21yo (vatting) - This one had a lot of beautiful flavors. Toffee, molasses, resin, good finish. Unfortunately a bit hollow--it was begging for a meaty or fruity core to go along with the dignified complexity.
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Re: Konnichiha from Japan: Japanese Whisky Tastings

Postby corbuso » Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:33 pm

If you are in Tokyo, there is a fair amount of excellent bars, some with a selection of over 1000 malts. Not too far from Tokyo is the Karuizawa distillery.
If you plan to go back to Japan after this trip, have a look at latest Ulf Buxrud book. Japanese whiskies. You should be able to read my review on that book within the next hours on http://www.whisky-news.com :-)
Kampai!

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...........
http://www.whisky-news.com
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Re: Konnichiha from Japan: Japanese Whisky Tastings

Postby petecaps » Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:46 pm

As for whisky shops in Tokyo all one needs is Hasegawa Liquors at Tokyo Station. Over 300 combinations of single malt bottlins and you can sample about half the stock for around 2 bucks :thumbsup:

Seems you have already gone back to Rockrige though....Say hello to Mambo for me....and Sheriff Bart. :smoke:
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Re: Konnichiha from Japan: Japanese Whisky Tastings

Postby Wave » Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:00 am

I really liked Tanakaya liquor shop in Mejiro (a very short distance from the train station) where I found some very nice Japanese malts including Hanyu's with a couple in the Ace range. When I was there in the summer of '07 they even had their own cask of Laphroaig, nice touch!

Cheers!
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Re: Konnichiha from Japan: Japanese Whisky Tastings

Postby peergynt323 » Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:49 am

I stayed in Shinjuku and found a very nice liquor store there. The Japanese whisky selection was excellent, but I ended up bringing home a Samaroli Highland Park.

I also found a nice whisky bar in Shibuya called Bar Moonshine. Excellent selection, including a 1972 G&M CC Ardbeg.
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Re: Konnichiha from Japan: Japanese Whisky Tastings

Postby cdadam88 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:01 am

Thanks for sharing, but I think The Suntory Old Whisky is not that bad, I found its fruity taste in my mouth, although together with harshness, but the aroma is kinda special and sweet. It's quite suitable for me, a newbie, who is in love with Whisky. And I'm not sure about its age, who knows?
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Re: Konnichiha from Japan: Japanese Whisky Tastings

Postby peergynt323 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:05 am

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Some pics. The first three are from Bar Moonshiner in Shibuya, the others Hibiki Restaurant in Shinjuku.
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