Showing posts with label Japanese Whisky Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japanese Whisky Review. Show all posts

Yamazaki 18 Years Review

“Great Single Malt from Japan ”

Country: Japan
Brand: Yamazaki 
Age: 18 Years
ABV: 43 %
Sample Provided By: Derek, USA. Many Thanks!  
Date: 13/07/2014

Colour: Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry

Nose: Rich and Intense. It certainly reminds me of a ripe Bourbon with tones of Pine Resin, Charred Oak, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Wood Polish, Orange and Cherries. But there's much more to discover in this Yamazaki. The Oak is very present but not in an overwhelming way. Quality Casks for sure and the Mizunara Oak adds a few nice aromas like Apples and Spices. Some Sherry notes as well but quite in balance with the other aromas. I also find Black Currants, Mandarin, Lemon, Honey, Herbs, Nuts, Dried Fruits, Malt, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Clove, Salt and hints of Espresso Coffee, Orange-Flavoured Dark Chocolate, Leather and Old Cigar Boxes. The Alcohol is sufficiently integrated. Without any doubt this is one of the best Noses I have encountered so far. I'm happy just to smell this Single Malt!

Palate: Good delivery although I feel that an ABV of 46% would have been perfect for this Yamazaki. The Oak is much more present now. I also find Dried Fruits, Nuts, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Molasses, Rum, Orange, Mandarin and Spices like Pepper, Nutmeg, Clove and Cardamom. Hints of Sherry, Bourbon, Earth and Floral Perfume. 

Finish: I would have liked to see a longer Finish. This Yamazaki deserves that. It's quite Dry towards the end. I find Oak, Cooked Dark Red Fruits, Pepper, Nutmeg, Clove, Aniseed, Caramel, Orange Flavoured Tea, Dusty Roads and hints of Cigar Ash and Espresso Coffee.

With added Water, The Nose gets extra Malt, Butter, Apricot, Menthol, Orange Marmalade, Floral tones and Honey. Palate and Finish do not benefit from the extra Water.

Rating: 88.5

Nose: 23 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 22

Derek's Bottle and the Sample!

General Remarks: The first malt whisky distillery in Japan was constructed by the Suntory Founder Shinjiro Torii in 1923 in the Yamazaki Valley close to the city of Kyoto. The place was chosen because its water, soil and climate were similar to Scotland. It was the first distillery of this kind outside Scotland and it used copper pot stills. Today the Suntory Yamazaki is the most popular Single Malt in Japan and it is exported to more than 25 countries. Since 1972 Suntory is importing its malted barley from Scotland and Australia. The spirit is aged in a mixture of casks from American -, Spanish – and Japanese Mizunara Oak. The 18 Years has won many prices since its introduction. It's not cheap and its price varies between 150 and 250 US Dollars, depending on the location.

Drinking Experience Neat: Very Good. I love the Nose. The Finish is on the Short Side.

Conclusion: The Yamazaki 18 Years makes it very clear that great Whiskies can be produced outside Scotland as well. This is without any doubt a quality Malt that matured on quality Wood. I really love the Nose of this Single Malt. It's rich and intense and you keep discovering new Aromas with each little sniff. I nosed this one for about 1 hour and it still kept me interested. It's almost a pity that you have to taste it as well. Because the Palate misses the great balance I found on the Nose. Here the Wood starts to dominate a bit. The Finish could -and perhaps should be Longer. I also feel that a slightly higher ABV of around 46% would have further enhanced this Single Malt. Despite these few - and minor observations, the Yamazaki 18 Years is a great Whisky that should be savoured on special occasions. I imagine it would combine extremely well with Orange Flavoured Dark Chocolate. 
Jan van den Ende                                                                July 2014

Nikka 12 Years Pure Malt Review

Country: Japan
Brand: Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Age: 12 Years 
ABV: 40 % 
Date: 16/02/2013

Colour: Golden Amber

Nose: The Nikka 12 needs some time in the glass before you start Nosing. But after a while you will be rewarded with nice and reasonably sophisticated Floral and Fruity Aromas. I find Buttered Toast and Apricot Marmalade, Caramel, Malt, Ripe Fruit like Plums, Apples and Peaches, Mahogany Wood, Vanilla, a nice Espresso note, Grass, Honey, Treacle, Lemon and Orange Zest and a generous sprinkle of Cinnamon. There's a little bit of Alcohol around. 

Palate: Quite Thin, Sweet and Watery with Sugared Tea, Toffee, Caramel, Oak, Nuts, light Vanilla, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Orange Zest, Grass, Apples and Dried Apricots.  

Finish: Short and mainly Sweet with Sugared Tea, light Honey, Vanilla, Cereals, Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger and some Cocoa Powder.

With a bit of water the Nose gets a bit more Fruit and Honey. Palate and Finish gain still more Spices but otherwise become too Thin.

Rating: 80.5

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20  - Finish: 19  - Overall: 20

The Yoichi Distillery

General Remarks: The Nikka Whisky Distilling Co. Ltd owns two Single Malt Distilleries in Japan (Yoichi and Miyagikyo) as well as Ben Nevis in Scotland. 
They also produce a lot of Blended Whisky and the 12 Years Taketsuru (named after the founder of Nikka) I am tasting today is a Blended or Vatted Malt Whisky from Spirit produced at the two above mentioned Japanese distilleries. It sells at around 70 US Dollars. There are also 17 and 21 Years Expressions in the Taketsuru Series. The best known blends are probably Nikka from the Barrel and Black Nikka, the latter mainly in Japan. Nikka was founded by Masataka Taketsuru He studied Chemistry at the University of Glasgow between 1918 and 1920 and worked and learnt as apprentice at Distilleries like Longmorn and Hazelburn. Apparently he was very gifted because later on Masataka became a Master-Blender. Nowadays the Nikka Whisky Distilling Company is part of Asahi Breweries. 

Drinking Experience Neat: The Nose is Good. The rest is Average.

Conclusion: I am disappointed with this Vatted/Blended Malt. The Nose is quite nice and has some distinct Fruity, Floral, Mahogany and Coffee Aromas. But on the Palate the Nikka 12 Years Pure Malt is Thin and Sugary Sweet with some Oak, Toffee and Spices. The Finish is similar to the Palate and quite Short. It's too expensive for what it offers and not good enough to be considered as one of my daily to-go-to Blends.

Jan van den Ende                                                       February, 2014