Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Whisky Shop W. Exclusives: Bowmore 15YO & Chita Grain

Post by Stefan of Tokyo Whisky Hub.

A few months ago, we reported on the release of a new Chita single grain expression, bottled for our friends at Whisky Shop W. in Osaka (which is located on the first floor of the Suntory building there). In the meantime, they've also put out an exclusive 15yo Bowmore expression. So, without further ado, let's see what we've got.
The 15yo Bowmore is non chill-filtered and bottled at cask strength (54.8% abv). On the nose, it starts off with vegetal notes (burdock, paprika soup, grilled aubergine) surrounded by gentle peat smoke. Underneath, there's a fruity dimension - guavas, dried mango, Yubari melon - and a bit of toffee, as well. Water pushes the fruity and sweeter notes more to the front, but I quite like the rough side of the nose when it's undiluted. On the palate, you get bitter oranges, raspberries, a bit of apple pie, a nice dose of oak smoke and a lovely seashell salinity. The finish is intense - here actually the full range of this whisky is revealed - and fades slowly, leaving you with notes of cedar wood, rhubarb and flor de sal. A nice daily-dram whisky - it hasn't left my kitchen counter since I opened it - and a versatile whisky to pair with food, too.

The Chita single grain (48% abv) is a complete different beast, of course. As we mentioned before, it's a vatting of younger and older casks. It's well-rounded on the nose and it's immediately clear that this was composed rather than the result of a lucky find in the warehouse: butterscotch, baklava, underripe bananas and vanilla from the oak, leather polish, pot-pourri, a hint of apricot jam. On the palate, it's very "bourbonny" but with little surprises left and right (a bit of cured ham, dried pineapple, raspberry meringue, cashew nuts, nutmeg, white pepper, ...). The finish is a long, smooth diminuendo with that nutmeg-and-white-pepper note playfully lingering on a bed of sweet notes. If you don't like bourbon, this really isn't for you. If you do, well, then this will give you a pretty good idea of what a good, Japanese bourbon would be like.

Both of these exclusives are still available at Whisky Shop W. (and their online alter-ego e-liquor). It's worth visiting the shop, though - if you can adjust your schedule to their crazy hours (11:00-19:00 weekdays only) - because they've still got a handful of bottles of the Yamazaki single cask to celebrate their 2nd anniversary on the shelves.

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