Saturday, November 23, 2013

SMWS-Japan 20th Anniversary Bottling (4): 72.33 (1981 Miltonduff) Review

Post by Stefan Van Eycken, Tokyo
Today, people attending the 20th Anniversary Party of the Japan chapter of the SMWS  had the first chance to try the fourth and final bottling in the series of single casks exclusively bottled to celebrate the Society’s two decades in Japan. For the winter edition – ‘Relaxation in a glass’ – the good folk at the Society here selected a 31yo Miltonduff drawn from a refill hogshead.

No point in beating around the bush: the nose is sublime. You get small cakes (madeleines with lemon, financier), assorted sweets (guimauves, candied apples, hokey pokey ice cream, soft [生] caramel, honey-drizzled apple beignets) and some cashew nuts. In the background, there’s freshly cut grass and fresh oak. Then, after a while, you get some oregano scones. If you give it some more time, it develops towards honey-lemon tea (with a tiny bit of mint) and if you wait 15-20 minutes, it transforms into peach yoghurt… or rather, peach calpis. Water dials up the fruit a bit and brings out a certain herbaceousness, which is nice if you want to approach this dram from a slightly different angle.

The palate develops the initial impressions on the nose. There’s a soft, sweet citrus element (lemon sorbet, candied lemon peel) and assorted Danish pastries. It’s got a nice, creamy mouthfeel (honey-glazed doughnuts) and there’s a bit of pommeau (of the Domfrontais variety). A Scotch whisky that dreams of France, it seems… The finish is medium-long on Gala apple peel, yokan and vanilla (but nothing excessive).

There’s just one thing we can say: the people at the Society here in Japan have kept the best for last. This really is the pick of the bunch.

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