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Japanese whiskey advice

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Japanese whiskey advice

Postby Moose... » Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:09 pm

I was thinking about purchasing a bottle of japanese single malt but can't help but notice that for the price of a 12yo Japanese malt I could get a much older Scotch.
Can it be worth the extra cash over a Scotch? or would I be just buying one as a novelty?
What Japanese single Malt would anyone recommend for around £60?
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby jmrl » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:53 pm

Hmm I know you said single malt but Hibiki blend at 12yo is great - also Nikka All Malt is very good anf great value particularly for Japanese.
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby Moose... » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:45 am

jmrl

I had thought the same thing and am of the opinion that if it tastes good and has nice character, does it matter if it isn't single malt.
It's more money still and for me expensive for a blend but the Hibiki 17 sounds good, worth the extra ?
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby jmrl » Mon Jul 08, 2013 1:45 pm

As always beauty is in the eye of the beholder but for me I don't need my glasses on to appreciate the 17yo, classy stuff.
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby opelfruit » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:04 pm

You need to not consider the "Older is more expensive, so older is better" view and take a view based on quality.

Would you pay £80 for a 10 year old? Thousands (including me) did when Ardbeg just released Ardbog - and you know what; it blows away stuff older in the same price bracket.


Japanses whisky is NOT scotch. Age for Age it blows scotch away. The maturation conditions in Japan are different from Scotland and you get a much more mature spirit after less aging. I've heard it can be 30%-50% different, so a 12yo Japanese whisky could be considered the same as a 16-18 year old in terms of complexity.

I've had a lot of Japanese malts, the 12yo Hakushu, 15yo and 20yo Yoichi blow away a lot of other older malts from Scotland.

In my view, pay the money, it's well worth it......but it aint my money, it's yours. So it's up to you :)



(by the way, award winning Indian whisky, such as Amrut, is rarely ages for more than 4 years and this can retail up to £70). Forget age when buying whisky and focus on quality)
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby bredman » Wed Jul 10, 2013 10:43 pm

Moose... wrote:I was thinking about purchasing a bottle of japanese single malt but can't help but notice that for the price of a 12yo Japanese malt I could get a much older Scotch.


Yes, it costs a few quid to get it all the way here from Japan, and there isn't much going spare so prices are at a premium already before shipping - so for those wanting to try Japanese you'll have to pay that little bit extra here in the UK.

Japanese whisky is similar to Scottish and can be as good or as bad.

The Nikka Pure Malt series are not single malts but vatted malts, and are worth a try. The Nikka Pure Malt White is a peaty vatting of Japanese malt and Scotch malt. The 'Red' and 'Black' versions are just Japanese malts and not peated like the 'White'. They are a nice price for the quality, as is the Nikka All Malt. The Taketsuru whiskies are also vatted malts and easy to find.

For me the best entry level single malt is Hakushu 12, i just love it. The Yamazaki 12 is also a wonderful dram. The other two of the big four Japan distilleries also offer great whisky (Yoichi and Miyagikyo). It would be fair to say all four of these distilleries offer great whisky throughout their line up. I should add that the Hakushu Heavily Peated gets the full recommendation from myself. Also still available are the Karuizawa Asama bottlings, a 'cheap' option for anyone wanting to try malt from this distillery, but i don't recommend them. If you must buy one get the 55% bottling as it will give you more scope to try and balance it out by adding water (it is better with water added).
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby Alex S » Fri Jul 19, 2013 7:38 pm

I would second Hakushu 12 - much more interesting than Yamazaki 12. Yamazaki 18 on the other hand is a different and complex beast.
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby dramtastic » Fri Jul 19, 2013 11:04 pm

It's a strange notion that someone can just say Hakushu 12 or Yamazaki 12 and that be the end of it.
There is batch variation in even standard bottling's such as these.
My current bottle of Yamazaki 12 is every bit as good as a good batch of Hakushu 12 even though the styles are quite different. As Yamazaki stocks have dwindled they have had to adjust the mix so to speak. More older stock in the mix and I would say from the nose and taste of my current bottle more mizunara cask influence.
Maybe the next bottle will not be as good, maybe it will be better, maybe the same.
I know from way back Pete Smoke is a big fan of Hak 12, but I also know he's been enjoying his latest bottle of Yama 12 more than he has past bottling's. Or, maybe his palate is just maturing :P
My personal favorite of the 12YO's is actually Yoichi, but even then there is still batch variation.
http://www.thejapanesewhiskyreview.com/
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby bredman » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:29 am

dramtastic wrote:I know from way back Pete Smoke is a big fan of Hak 12, but I also know he's been enjoying his latest bottle of Yama 12 more than he has past bottling's. Or, maybe his palate is just maturing :P
My personal favorite of the 12YO's is actually Yoichi, but even then there is still batch variation.
http://www.thejapanesewhiskyreview.com/


Yes the latest Yama 12 is a bump up from the older releases according to my still maturing palate :D. Still preferring the latest Hak 12 though, but a restock is in order.

As for Pete Smoke, this forum just ain't big enough for the two of us, i'm glad they kicked his ass out of here. :coffee:


:lol:
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby Ganga » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:51 am

I miss Pete Smoke.... :lol:

Dang it, I think you guys have convinced me to go get a few bottles of Japanese whiskies...at least what is available in the US.
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby dramtastic » Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:11 pm

I hear that a few more are on their way G.
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby dramtastic » Sun Jul 21, 2013 1:17 pm

bredman wrote:
dramtastic wrote:I know from way back Pete Smoke is a big fan of Hak 12, but I also know he's been enjoying his latest bottle of Yama 12 more than he has past bottling's. Or, maybe his palate is just maturing :P
My personal favorite of the 12YO's is actually Yoichi, but even then there is still batch variation.
http://www.thejapanesewhiskyreview.com/


Yes the latest Yama 12 is a bump up from the older releases according to my still maturing palate :D. Still preferring the latest Hak 12 though, but a restock is in order.

As for Pete Smoke, this forum just ain't big enough for the two of us, i'm glad they kicked his ass out of here. :coffee: :lol:


Well a certain moderators ham fisted execution of his duties sounded the death knell for many a WMF member. Never been the same since.
I think you would have liked Pete Smoke if you would have gotten the chance to know him bredman. 8)
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby bscepter » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:18 pm

i recently finished my first bottle of japanese whisky - a yamazaki 12 yo, which only cost about $40 here in omaha. i rather liked it, actually. quite spicy and dark.
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby whiskymate » Thu Aug 08, 2013 2:52 am

bscepter wrote:i recently finished my first bottle of japanese whisky - a yamazaki 12 yo, which only cost about $40 here in omaha. i rather liked it, actually. quite spicy and dark.


I also just finished (so nearly) my first bottle of Yama 12. It has to be replaced in the vault.
Pity it never goes on special....
must be a supply and demand kind of thing.
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby misswho42 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:32 pm

Hello.

I have to admit, I know nothing about Whiskey but my brother does. I would like to buy him a Japanese whiskey for Christmas as he knows his Scottish Whiskey and I'm quite interested in all things Japanese. I'm looking for a bottle priced between £30-£50, and I don't know if this helps but his preferred Whiskey is Highland and he likes coffee undertones. If anyone could give me any advice to a Whiskey novice like me, I'd be very grateful.

Thank you.
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby bredman » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:05 am

misswho42 wrote: If anyone could give me any advice to a Whiskey novice like me, I'd be very grateful.

Thank you.


There are much fewer Japanese whiskies compared to Scotch, and even fewer available here in the UK (i assume you're located in UK). So it's down to the choice. If he likes Highland i would assume it's single malt and not blends, and that he won't go for heavily peated. I'll list a couple blends in case, also a couple of what we call 'malt blends' or blended malts.

There is a category once known as a vatted malt, or now called a 'malt blend'. These Japanese malt blends are excellent, the Pure Malt Red and Pure Malt Black can be found at specialists, the Pure Malt White is quite peaty and a vatting of Scottish and Japanese malt so best to stay with the Red and the Black versions (they're about £35 for a 50cl bottle). There are a couple other Japanese malt blends available but i'd stick to these two.

The Hibiki 12 is a favourite 'blend' with whisky fans. A bit unexciting imo but it's popular. About £45 for a 70cl bottle and the packaging is quite nice for a gift. Another blend of note is the 'Nikka From The Barrel' which is a high strength 50cl bottle at about £32.

If you want to stay with Single Malts - i think you should - the choice is simple. There is the Yamazaki 10, the Yamazaki 12, and Hakushu 12. The Yama 10 isn't great imo so i'd consider the two 12 year olds. The Yama 12 is £40+, (it was cheaper in Booth's if you live up North), and the Hakushu 12 is just out of budget at £50+. Both of these two are great and are up with the top Scotch malts. The only other Japanese single malt options are the Yoichi 10 and the Miyagikyo 10, these are good whiskies but a bit pricey for what they are at about £60.

Start your shopping here http://www.thewhiskyexchange.com/ and good luck. If you can, let us know if he enjoys what you get him.

Japanese whisky makes a 8) gift.
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Re: Japanese whiskey advice

Postby opelfruit » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:09 am

At that price range your only looking at the entry level whiskies, and to be honest you'll be looking at about £50 for one of those.

Your choices (if you want single malt) are:

Yamazaki 12yo
Hakushu 12yo
Yoichi 10yo
Miyagikyo 10yo

These are produced by the 2 big players in Japan, the first 2 being by Suntory and the second 2 being by Nikka.

Yamazaki - spicey and sherried style, more like your speyside scotch
Hakushu - sweet, crisp and smokey
Yoichi - smooth, rich and smokey
Miyagikyo - floral, light and balanced.

My personal favourite is Yoichi, and the founder of the distillery studdied his whisky making in the highlands and makes the malt in this style. It has those "coffee" undertones and some smoke which would tie in with what he likes. If you are feeling flush then move up to the Yoichi 12 year old which is a much better dram but about £70 a bottle.



......there are other options, such as blends or vatted malts, which are very good too, but I'd be looking to a Yoichi if he likes highland.
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