Monday, June 28, 2010

Kirin 20th Anniversary Pure Malt Whisky

Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:
Kirin 20th Anniversary Pure Malt Whisky. 40 per cent alcohol (abv)
Nose: Chopped walnuts mixed in with a tropical fruit salad of pineapple, mango, papaya (paw paw) and pear. Very fresh and clean with some wood varnish, pencil shavings and nutmeg spice adding to the complexity. After about 20 mins, there are notes of vanilla and sweet tobacco.
Palate: Lovely clean malt with a delightful interplay between the walnuts and a coconut oiliness. White pepper and nutmeg. The fruits on the nose are in there but in a more concentrated dried form. Fresh passion fruit.
Finish: White pepper, nutmeg, walnuts, pineapple, papaya, coconut, passion fruit and sweet tobacco. The passion fruit and sweet tobacco flavour hangs on for an age.
General comment: This a highly individual whisky of great complexity. Well done Kirin!

Nonjatta note: This one calls itself a pure malt, which implies it is made from the products of more than one distillery. It is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Fuji-Gotemba distillery, which opened in 1973, which would date this bottling to 1993, when Japanese distillers were sometimes a little casual with their use of whisky terms. It was not unknown for single malts to be called pure malts. The distillery's name is plastered across the top of the label in Japanese but it does, however, say "vatted and bottled" by Kirin distillery on the bottom of the label, which implies it is indeed vatted, which raises the interesting question of where the whisky that was not distilled in Fuji-Gotemba came from. The Japanese companies don't tend to share their malts and they certainly did not do much sharing in the nineties, so it would seem quite likely that some of the whisky may have come from outside Japan. Does anyone know any more about this whisky? It certainly sounds delicious.


Rex said...

After a long hiatus from nonjatta, I couldn't help but notice that looked a lot like Australia in the background and was surprised to see that there are now 2 Aussie contributors on this fine site.

I am a Melbournian myself and know that there is next to no Japanese whisky around.

Dramtastic, what method do you use to acquire your whisky?

Personally i get mine when i go over or from friends, i even grabbed a bargain bottle of Yamazaki 18 off ebay once, a bit over 100 shipped!

Nonjatta said...

Dear Rex
Yes the population of Aussies is increasing. I will leave it to Dramtastic to comment on his nefarious methods (if you send me your email at japanesewhisky at gmail I can send your contact details him).
What were your impressions of the 18?

Rex said...

The 18 was fantastic in my opinion, the Yamazaki 12 was a bit too floral for my liking. Don't get me wrong, its nice but not one i could drink too much of. The 18, well that is a different story, i believe that Luca Chichizola had a spot on review, its big and sweet like a Belgian beer but just as complex as a Scottish whisky aged in a fortified wine cask, it was a while ago that i last had it but the finish was a bit short if i remember. (I prefer a sweeter style or very smoky to take the bite off.)

Nonjatta said...

I agree with you about the 12, though I have met people who love it. I have tried the 18 (though did not take any tasting notes) and thought it was really excellent.