Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
On the nose, the initial impressions are brambles, cherry sauce and golden kiwifruit. Then, after a while, a strong mango note comes through – think thick mango juice – accompanied by pear drops, Weinbergpfirsich liqueur, pineapple lumps and a hint of Nutella. There’s also a bit of sour ume candy and toasted coconut in there but the mango keeps coming back in various guises, like a varied refrain: mango juice, frozen mangoes with lemon, mango sauce, dried apple-mango, mango sorbet and so on. In the background, there are light grassy notes and a hint of woodchips. It’s hard to capture in words just how phenomenal the nose is because the great thing about all those notes is that they work together in perfect harmony. The palate, neat, elaborates on the theme of the tropical fruit mélange – pineapple, coconut milk, mango again, guava – with sour (gooseberries, lime) and bitter (grapefruit peel, aromatic bitters) accents. Again, everything’s perfectly integrated, round, smooth, no rough edges… and with an incredibly creamy mouthfeel. The finish is long on chocolate-and-passionfruit bavarois and hitotsubu-no-muscat (ひとつぶのマスカット, a sort of candied grape). Water transforms the nose – brings out gummy bears, apricots, Lady Grey tea and a bit of hay – but flattens the palate and sabotages the finish. Don’t mess with this extraordinary whisky. It’s perfect just the way it is.