Regulars of Whiskies R Us will already know my style, but for many of the new readers who have jumped on board (thank you), some of you may not. WRU is in its third year, the blog, which is solely maintained, is in no way supported by any distillery or whisky affiliated company, and I do not receive samples from any of the brands in the industry. Almost 99.9% of the reviews you see at Whiskies R Us are from bottles I’ve purchased using funds from my own pocket. For those who share the enthusiasm for Japanese whisky (or whisky in general) will appreciate it’s not a cheap interest to have. I put in a fair whack of personal funds (not as much as others - simply because I cannot afford to) to share my experiences, but as you know there are just too many expressions on the market to buy, and the fact that at times even if funds are available, you can never beat the race of the clock and obtain what you want.
Now, the 0.1% - recently I have participated in a few sample swaps with some fellow malt mates. In the past I never really reviewed samples received (except for the lovely and appreciative Karuizawa 30yo), again only self purchased bottles, however on this occasion(s) I will be posting “Sample Sessions” out of gratitude/appreciation, and quite honestly some of these whiskies I may have never had the chance to obtain. So without further ado the first batch I’ll be briefly reviewing (not in my usual writing/reviewing style due to size of the post) consists of samples kindly received from an equally Japanese malt whisky enthusiast and malt mate who writes descriptive reviews over at Connosr. I will be introducing this malt mate in a later post so stay tuned.
Hanyu Chibidaru - Cask#346 - Age: 12yo - ABV: 58.2% - Distilled: 2000 - Bottled: 2012 - Selected by La Masion Du Whisky
Lovely brown creaming soda - “Sno-Top” (Woodroofe) engulfs the nose along with marzipan. Scented maple syrup: orange cardamom, wood-fired-sap on waffles perhaps? Quite clean malt on the nose. The orange-cardamom wood fried sap (spicy maple syrup) is on the palate also, which I like. Cloves and spicy cherry prick the tongue. Moderately spicy and musky (candy sticks) on the finish. The final leg turns a wee bit vegetal. No water added as I found it wasn’t needed.
Chichibu Chibidaru - Cask#286 - ABV: 61.9% - Distilled: 2009 - Bottled: 2012 - Selected by La Masion Du Whisky
Typical qualities of Chichibu Chibidaru casks (bespoke quarter casks). Love these redesigned casks in both Hanyu and Chichibu matured whiskies. Although a different cask it retains similar qualities to the Shinanoya 5th anniversary Chibidaru: a combo of sweet and savory with a burst of cedar wood. Both nose and palate provide toasted pecans, and spicy caramel/butterscotch popcorn. New to the mix are some cinnamon gum and tulip fields? Definitely Yo-Yo biscuits are in big play here (honey, eggs, milk, and butter dough). I have a soft spot for all Chichibu Chibidaru bottlings (OB/private).
Hakushu Genshu - Age: 12yo - Hogshead - Distilled: 1996 - Bottled: 2008 - Outrun: 1000 bottles - ABV: 62%
Lots of forestry on the nose - in particular pine trees and fresh lumber wood. There is lovely subtle sweet citrus - faint pink and white grapefruit along with a hint of effervescent lemon and vanilla, also subtle floral? Did I mention this is lovely? The palate is on par with the nose but the pink grapefruit has a heavy sprinkling of brown sugar and spice - sweet floral spice. It is quite silky and smooth given the ABV. Wow! What an interesting Hakushu. A dash of water brings out lemon sherbet boiled lollies on the nose and forest floor mulch on the palate. If zesty malts are your thing than this is for you (it is for me).