Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Japanese Drams of Yesteryear (2): Kirin Ten Distilleries 43% abv

Ten prominent distilleries from Kirin-Seagram's portfolio at the time were selected for this blended whisky that was produced in 1989. The component whiskies consists of malt from Scotland (40%), American grain (10%), Canadian grain (10%), and naturally malt and grain from Kirin-Japan (40%). Aside from Fujigotemba, the roundup of distilleries were composed of Strathisla, Glen Grant, Longmorn, Glen Keith, and Allt A Bhainne from Scotland. Canadian grain came from Waterloo, Lasalle, and Gimli, while the Lawrenceburg grain distillery represented America.

Nose: Initially some dusty woody elements (wooden lettuce crates, tree bark, and almond shells). It has a damp and musty scent going on (wet towels left over night) but this gives way to reasonably pleasant aromas such as lychee, mellow Sakura tea leaves, dried mango, and vanilla poached pear. In addition there is light Splice pine-lime (creamy vanilla ice cream encased in citrus fruit flavoured ice) and watermelon. A detection of Gudang Garam cigarettes? A slight alcohol and grainy note rolls of the top. Time reveals mint, musk lifesavers, and tomato leaves followed by flat cola dregs that has been left in the fridge for days. Overall it's not too bad really...just a little too light however, it attains a great summery nose.

Taste: Not as active as the nose, although certainly not a write-off. In no particular order you get cherry leaf, and spicy rocky road chocolate. Then, mild menthol gum and dusty musk candy. Moss and watermelon skin white rind are present. A tad on the light side but very solid on subtle spices and mild bitter herbs. Corn kernels and vanilla bean paste. Hoppy really.

Finish: Short to moderate with peppered cucumber, watermelon skin white rind, and mellow menthol gum that ends with a hint of mild bitterness - tonic water.

Comment: Great bottle design and history behind this blend. Some may find it bland, and well, yes, it can be to an extent, but if you can obtain it at a very cheap price, and have an open mind, it should be considered for the historical experience. Better still, if your not sure on a bottle purchase order it at a bar.

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