Nose: Absolutely lovely. Rich and dominantly sweet with aromas of two of my favourite childhood and adolescent chocolate bars: Cherry Ripe - ripe juicy cherries and grated coconut dipped in dark chocolate, and Fry’s Turkish Delight - rose flavoured centre surrounded by milk chocolate. The sweetness continues with Allen’s Raspberries, marshmallows (both white and pink), and hot ginger caramel sauce. From here the direction changes with a mixture of guava juice, Japanese honey suckle, chamomile tea, and crisp Tottori pears. Shy but very evident Tang Orange flavor drink mix and/or Vitamin C tablets waft from the glass.
Taste: Many lush traits from the nose (Cherry Ripe / Turkish Delight). In addition spiced port wine, dried figs, ginger cookies, hot milk and honey, raspberry gums, and toffee. Certainly a dram that brings a glow to your face - I love it. Later on in the game, teasing salt and pepper played with my taste buds.
Finish: Medium to border-line long on mellow spiced port, ginger cookies, honey milk, and dried figs.
Comment: I bet you if you put this superb dram in a blind tasting not too many people will associate it as being a blend that costs as little as 2,200 yen (depending on place of purchase). This is the first release of the Iwai Tradition Wine Cask Finish with an outturn of 2,495 bottles. This will be followed up with a second release; again using ex-red wine casks from Hombo Shuzo’s Chateau MarsWinery in Yamanashi, so if you missed out this time around grab a few bottles next time.