A Japanese blended malt from Nikka. Non age-stated, but let’s assume a middling youth. Asian malts mature a little bit differently from their Scottish brethren in most cases, so using the same metrics is misleading. What I can say, though, is that this one is neither underdeveloped, nor is it gracefully waltzing up into its golden years (that apex of maturity we ache for in the whisky world).
Initial rumblings on this one pegged it as a wonder malt of sorts. Something that was unparalleled in its price bracket in terms of relative quality and depth of pseudo-tropicalia. I kinda see it, yeah. Word of mouth from a few trusted sources was enough to get our local club – The Dram Initiative – to spring blindly for a couple bottles to shelve for a future Japanese whisky night. It now seems that was a solid investment. The bottle you see in the photo above was purchased on behalf of another l’il club here in town, called Liquorature for an event held a few months back. The seven or eight gents that gathered over good reads and good malts that night spanked the hell out of it, I should note. Fortunately there were a few drops left over for a couple of revisits and some tasting notes.
Again…we decry the lack of vintage on the label – in this day and age there is no excuse for clandestine policies regarding age – but concede a well-executed drink. Oh, and a hell of a price for a Japanese whisky in this era of unrestrained price gouging.
Nose: Pear, orange and a touch of that syrupy fruit cocktail mix from the can. Vaguely floral too. Like a good young Speysider with a more exotic spice bouquet. White chocolate and vanilla cake. Kinda reminds of ice cream…or custard. Not a complex malt, but very well-composed and infinitely drinkable.
Palate: Nice arrival that immediately shifts gears into darker vanilla and tannic notes. Plum skins. Is that peat? Really? The fruits that ebb and flow here do border on tropical (but the whisky is just too young for it to truly plunge into tropical territory), with those semi-bitter, but also incredibly sweet, colorful explosions (too esoteric?). Think of a very muted tropical juice blend poured over angel food cake. Leaves smoked peaches and oak on the back end. Neat.
Thoughts: An incredibly well made dram, and for a ridiculously fair price considering the mark-up on Japanese whisky nowadays. $60 give or take. One final note…the nose does somewhat outshine the palate.
– Images & Words: Curt