Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Calm Blended Whisky for COOP 39% abv - by Toa Shuzo

Just thought I'd report back on the recent discovery of Coop's new home brand blended whisky - Calm. Days after my post I thought it only natural to lay down the minimal cost (1,011 yen) and see what this whisky was all about, simply out of curiosity for myself and for WRU readers (even though I originally said otherwise).

Before I comment on this whisky that is produced by Toa Shuzo Co., Ltd, I'd like to re-visit the topic of the blends bottle shape. Previously I mentioned that Calm's bottle was surprisingly reminiscent of Hanyu's "Card Series", but due to volume differences and research I decided that Calm's bottle shape/design was more that of the 12yo Golden Horse Chichibu single malt by Toa Shuzo (the people behind Hanyu). After speculating, purchasing, and further research I'm confident to say that the spec's of Calm's bottle right down to the plastic cap is in actual fact the same as the bottles used for the "Card Series". But what about the difference in volume you may ask? Something I admittedly over looked - quite simply Calm's blend at 720mls and Hanyu's Card Series at 700mls are bottled in the exact same bottle. Basically there is an extra 20mls in liquid only and not in glass. To take things a bit further I measured diameters and height and everything matches up, even to the markings on the bottom of both bottles by the manufacture, which I've been informed is a Japanese manufacturer. So what does all this mean? Not a lot really except that Toa Shuzo are using the same bottles that are used in the production of the "Card Series" to bottle their Calm whisky. That and just the coincidence really.

Nose: Certainly not complex, not too much going on really. It is very young but actually reasonably OK. There is no unpleasant alcohol burn, and it appears to be all young new make with light fruity notes. It's very reminiscent of something I've smelt before to be honest (just not as fruity). However, in my opinion it does have traits of being just a new make with artificial colouring added. Besides these traits there are light/weak red stone fruits: watery plums. In fact everything is light really - fresh non boiled unsweetened corn cobs and Weet-Bix steeped in hot water. There are slight suggestions of dry port, authentic Turkish Delight (without chocolate coating), rich corn flakes, and weak mango purée. Solvents are present but again subtle and not overpowering: wood varnish and envelope glue, and let's not forget Vodka and caramel essence.

Taste: Silky smooth, watery, with extremely subtle/light spices (cinnamon and nutmeg). Again, it has that new make quality only in a weaker concentration than the nose and without the fruit. Cardboard and envelopes represent the solvents, then there is cocoa powder, paddle pop sticks, cheap Vodka, malt flavoured corn flakes, and caramel essence. 

Finish: Subtle cinnamon and cocoa powder, envelope glue, cheap Vodka mixed with caramel essence. 

Comment: It's certainly not "pour down the drain" stuff but nor is it a dram to bring out to shout your friends when over. I thought it would be a brutal white spirit experience but it wasn't that bad, but again it's not extremely good. Lastly, it doesn’t work well also as highballs.


  1. any guess on the rough age?

    1. As mentioned, and it is just an opinion, this has many signs of "new make". The colour I presume is not from many years spent in a cask (again just an opinion), instead the colour given to this blend may well be that of the added artificial colour - caramel. Of course I could be wrong but this has spent little time if not much at all marrying on casks, there are tell tale signs of it being young indeed. It could be quite possible that it's only months old opposed to years. Perhaps if you are in Japan you could give it a go and share your thoughts Anonymous - if you do please do so under a real user name. Cheers.