Friday, January 27, 2012

Nikka Malt 100 The Anniversary 12-yo


Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Nikka Malt 100 The Anniversary Aged 12 Years. 40 percent alcohol.
Nose: Oak, engine oil, a little dry sherry, orange, cola, caramels.
Palate: A little oily. Cola and caramels. Some rasberry, nutmeg and licorice.
Finish: Short with the flavours of the palate and dying to dry oak.

Nikka Whisky Grand Age


Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Nikka Whisky Grand Age blend. 45 percent alcohol.
Nose: Very oaky (grand age). Varnish, toffee, bran and hay.  Not particularly inviting.
Palate: Improves on the nose. The oak tones down and there's lots of sweet spice. Quite nutty. Clingy mouth feel. Some ginger ale.
Finish: Toffee and ginger ale. The oak makes a big return but a little too big unfortunately. The spicy sweetness remains.

Suntory Aqua Vitae Pure Malt


Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Suntory Aqua Vitae Pure Malt. 40 percent alcohol.
Nose: Preserved plums. pomegranate, merlot infused oak, nectarine and a little menthol.
Palate: Sweet red grapes, preserved plums, light oak, cranberries, marzipan, butter, ginger.
Finish: Short on red grape, cranberries, marziapan then quite some ginger.

Suntory Special Reserve Aged 12 Years

Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Suntory Special Reserve Blend Aged 12 Years. 40 per cent alcohol.
Nose: Immediately reminded me of its younger brother the Special Reserve Aged 10 Years. Apple custard, stewed pears. tinned peaches, banana, sawdust. Very creamy with a big dollop of Demerara sugar.
Palate: Yum. Very creamy mouth feels. 5 spice, mashed bananas, apple custard, tinned peaches, smooth oak.
Finish: Fresh cream-covered peaches, stewed apples and banana, sprinkled with sweet spices.
General comment: Never loses its composure. Excellent blending.

Kirin Emblem


Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Kirin Emblem. 43 per cent alcohol.
Nose: Bran, wheat, oats. Lemon and lime. New oak and potato skins.
Palate: Toffee and grain. Golden syrup on pancakes with a light squeeze of lemon.
Finish: Medium on golden syrup, oak, a little poppy seed and cinnamon.
General comment: Solid blend in the Scottish style. Kirin blends often use Scottish whisky in the mix.

Nikka Aging Triple


Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Nikka Ageing Triple Blended Malt. 40 per cent alcohol.
Nose: Quite simple on pears, green apple, lemon, malt, freshly cut timber, yeast. A little waxy. Reminds me of Glen Moray NAS.
Palate: Slightly bitter. Flat sprite, pears, freshly cut timber, malt, pepper, grapefruit.
Finish: Short on timber, pepper, grapefruit, malt.
General comment: The label says it is blended with "new type" malt whisky. If that means it young, it certainly tastes it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Update on duty free at Narita

Given the regular emails I get asking about the practicalities of buying Japanese whisky both inside and outside Japan, I am going to take the liberty of promoting a very interesting comment posted on Nonjatta into a full post. It is very informative and I think it will be of interest to readers. It is from "Paul," who doesn`t give any further personal details. (If you did, Paul, I could give you proper credit.) I have put Paul`s videos of what is currently available at Narita at the top, but look below for some very important information on what you have to check before getting your wallet out.

"I have just returned from recent vacation in Japan in 2012 here is an update on duty free shop at narita airport.

In other airports around the world, if you are departing or arrival from the airport, you can buy duty free. In Narita airport, however, there is no duty free at all as you arrive. My buddy and I were quite shocked to find this. He wanted to get a carton of Camel smokes but couldn't do so. My plan was to buy the Hibiki 30-year-old for the duration of my vacation, and then the Yamazaki 25-year-old to bring home when I departed from Japan via Narita. I couldn't do that.

Before you buy any duty free liquor at Narita, please ask your airline during check-in if you are allowed to buy duty free liquor and carry on board your plane. We were flying ANA airways and they allowed it, but I hear Delta airways may not allow it. Please check.  
If you buy NON-duty free liquor from many supermarket in Japan, you will have to pack it in your luggage and check it in. They probably will not allow you to hand carry aboard any liquor. (Nonjatta editor`s note: They definitely will not allow this. Also, check if you are getting a transfer at a second airport whether it is going to be taken off you during that transfer. Different countries seem to have different practices.)

At the Narita duty free shop, I saw a wide range of Japanese whiskies. The Hibiki 30-yo and the Yamazaki 25-yo that I was after were both available, but were way too expensive: 75,000 yen each. That is only slightly cheaper than non-duty-free whisky retail outlets here in my country. So, it was quite a let down not to be able to sample either the Hibiki or the Yamazaki.

In the end I just bought a bottle of Old Parr Superior 18-yo for 6,500yen, which is not available in my country. It came along with a nice men's wrist watch.
Happy tippling!"

Friday, January 20, 2012

More Ichiro`s Malt temptation

Just the label of this latest offering from Ichiro`s Malt is enough to send me scuttling for my wallet, but the thought of the whisky inside makes the temptation almost too much to resist.

The 11-year-old single cask bottling (only 309 bottles are available at just below 8,000 yen a pop) is a sequel to the previous "The Game". The new 59.4-percent version has been finished in a "mizunara headed hogshead," which means that only the two ends of the large cask used for the final maturation were made of mizunara (Japanese oak) . That may result in a subtle hint of the typical mizunara influences.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mars Maltage 3 Plus 25

Note from Nonjatta: For more information on this rather unique whisky, please see this post.

Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Mars Maltage 3 Plus 25. 28-year-old pure malt. 46 per cent alcohol.
Nose: Luscious. A huge hit of apricots. Ginger, soft leather, Seville oranges, lemon barley, toffee, vanilla, stewed rhubarb, lime juice, gentle pepper, a little pine nut, pineapple, walnut, licorice, and a waxy element.
Palate: Smooth and rounded. Big toffee, apricot jam, pepper, stewed rhubarb, Chinese 5 spice. Can oak be creamy? Sweetened corn, pistachios, leather, frangipani, strawberry compote, walnuts, licorice.
Finish: Medium-long. Balanced on a sweet/dry combo then a little minerally.
General comment: A stunning whisky that reminds me somewhat of Hibiki 21. Complex and faultless.

Mars Komagatake Single Cask Vintage 1988 Sherry Cask

Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Mars Komagatake Single Cask Vintage 1988 sherry cask #566. 46 percent alcohol.
Nose: Sherry, match heads, preserved plums, honey, toffee, medium oak, thickened cream, oats.
Palate: Toasty. Match heads, honey, banana leaf, dry sherry, toffee, candied nuts, nutmeg.
Finish: Short-medium on dry sherry. Matchheads, toffee, honey. Flinty.
General comment: This reminds me of Highland park 12/18 or Glenfarclas 21. Not really my style of sherried whisky but nothing particularly off either.

Mars Amber


Review by Nonjatta contributor - Dramtastic:

Mars Amber blend. 40 per cent alcohol.
Nose: Sherry, honey, malt, dates, raisins. No grainy notes that I can pick up.
Palate: Light bodied. Sherry, some nuttiness, toffee, dates, and a little nougat.
Finish: Short on dry sherry, toffee and nuts.
General comment: A simple, untaxing whisky that works best mixed or on the rocks, as the makers intended.