Monday, February 4, 2013

Suntory Kioke Shikomi Pure Malt 1981 43%

Distillation: Direct-fired stills

Nose: Peculiar aromas - border line strange opposed to unique. Suggestions of white spirits: Imo (potato) Shochu and Sake, plus a hint of homemade Umeshu (plum liqueur). In the foreground there is a mixture of solvents, raw barley, wooden lettuce crates, gravox gravy powder, and a heavy vegetal presence: Brussels sprouts and baked buttered turnip. In the background: peanut oil, old mixed peel, a variety of Oden, and grassy elements. With time and water a moderate citrus zing emerges. Once half the bottle is consumed a light surface note of smoke becomes present.

Taste: Equally as peculiar as the nose. Heavy emphasis on mixed nuts: particularly cashews and peanuts, which have been marinated in Imo Sochu. Cardboard mingles with Brussels sprouts and green capsicum. Solvents: home brand non-fragranced hairspray, envelope glue, and white pepper, grassy and light smoky notes. This malt is extremely bitter and metallic. Water doesn't do much justice for the palate except tone down the bitterness and add a black sesame mouth feel.

Finish: Prickly with a tinge of mixed pepper, bitter yeast, and a coating of peanut paste.

Comment: This pure malt has often been said to resemble that of a Hakushu malt among some posts in Japanese. It possibly has some small similarities on the nose such as the citrus and cashews; however, it cannot be compared to a Hakushu expression in my opinion, especially the palate; far from it according to my taste buds. This is one of those whiskies where I wish I could have tried it before I bought it - comfortable to say I would have used my money more appropriately. It is a treasure trove of a find; yes - but a little hard to justify the value on the taste. However, some love it! For a different perspective of this whisky take a look The Japanese Whisky Review.

Reviewed by Clint A

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