I haven't been very active on this board lately. I do pop in and read a bit now and then. I have been posting over on StraightBourbon.com. Plus a number of other non-whisk(e)y groups that I belong to. I have had some really nice single malts lately, maybe the change of season has something to do with that. Of course, this is a thread on vatted malts so I will have to talk about that elsewhere.
I have been thinking about it and, you know, I don't think I have ever had a vatted malt that wasn't made by a Japanese company. The Nikka Pure Malt series, Black, White and Red labels I have already talked about here.
Nikka makes Takatsuru. I have had the 12 year old and it is very nice. I just realized that I haven't opened the bottle that I have of this. I have only had it in bars, not the best way to judge a whiskey, at least for me. Right now all I can recall is a nice smokiness. It is early in the day, too early to drink, but I thought I would have a tiny pour to refresh my memory, I measured out 15 ml into my favorite glass and tried it. The smoke is there, not overpowering, not just a hint, but a pleasant presence. It is sweeter than I remember, vanilla, brown sugar with a hint of honey. There is a light fruitiness that I didn't remember. Very nice dram, some night when I feel like a malt I ought to pour myself a triple and give it a more through investigation.
Another fine vatted malt is Suntory's Hokuto 12. A lot fruiter that the Takatsuru, rather like a speyside.
By the Way, both of these come in older expressions, but I haven't tried anything but the 12 yo.