Friday, January 23, 2015

Mars Komagatake Sherry & American White Oak 2011 Aged 3 Years

Outturn: 5200 bottles - Cask strength - 57% - Bottled: 2014

Nose: An abundance of sweet aromas projecting strawberries & cream (soft chewy flavoured jellies), toffee apple, pink marshmallows, coffee and vanilla essence, sultanas, guava, chocolate and toffee coated coffee beans (mainly on opening), and for good measure Cobbers lollies (chewy caramel coated in chocolate). This is lovely stuff, among the sweetness there is a cheeky tease of peat smoke – it is evidently there. A hint of sourness. With a dash of water mango puree, sweet buttered popcorn, and strawberry mouse become present. Brown creaming soda with time in the glass. Very busy for such a young whisky. 

Taste: Thick and mildly creamy. Nutty (beer nuts) with cinnamon banana slice, coffee beans, hints of port cigar leaf, and moderately spiced mocha. Ground allspice berries, and a sprinkle of pink pepper. Malty and woody. Water accentuates that  peat smoke, which in my opinion is much more evident on the palate. 

Finish: Long with spicy caramel popcorn, pepper and peat. This becomes a little dry and the nuttiness becomes evident when cut with water.

Comment: Cask combination works a treat on this 3yo. In my opinion another fine specimen of a very young Japanese whisky. I quite enjoyed this second release from the 'new era'.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ichiro's Malt Chichibu Chibidaru 2014 Release

Distilled: 2010 - Bottled: 2014 - Outturn: 6200 bottles - ABV: 53.3%

Nose: On the very first dram a small alcohol bite is present but dwindles from there on to reveal, in every other following glass, moderate sweetness - butterscotch (a consistency in the 2013 release and Shinanoya’s private cask), Scolten cookies, and sugar coated Weet-Bix in warm milk, banana custard, and caramel sauce. Over a short time there is that lovely presence of eggnog and tropical fruits. A sweet and sour combo emerges from here (sweet and sour pork sauce). Then, moving on from this side other aromas such as flowery hops, oak, and an intertwining mixture of malt, grist, chaff, and an oat (perhaps getting back to Weet-Bix) element enter the game. Walnuts and grapefruit peel present a hint of bitterness. Then, things completely shift resembling a good Mescal and a touch of lemon lozenges’.

Taste: Initially a big burst of prickly wood spice and a combination of cardamom and endless nutmeg. There's a lovely touch of peppermint that caresses your tongue. Some mellow bitterness - walnuts and grapefruit peel. Lingering oak. Vegetal. Quite woody and thick with roasted flavours - tea leaves? Water lures the sweetness to the game but not as moderate compared to the nose.

Finish: Moderate to long while retaining most of the characteristics from the palate - wood spice, oak, nutmeg and a slight bitter note on the last leg. Again, a touch of roasted tea leaves.

Comment: Interestingly this works well paired with Kamoboko dipped in soy-sauce and freshly grated ginger. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Rihga Royal Hotel Osaka & Nikka stage a joint exhibition to mark their 80th anniversaries

To celebrate the establishment of the Rihga Royal hotel in Osaka and the foundation of Nikka whisky the two industry brand names have come together to introduce  what the hotel has named ‘Taketsuru Museum Exhibition’. According to the hotel’s webpage patrons can experience the passion and dedication through the footprints of Masataka Taketsuru – the “father of Japanese whisky”, and a man who opened up a new era in Japanese whisky. Fans alike can take a look at memorabilia that supposedly includes train tickets of Taketsuru-san’s journey from London to Glasgow, along with detailed notes (in Japanese) of his Hokkaido site search, and the famed notebook that contains notes from his studies in Scotland (replica). Unfortunately the exhibition finishes Friday 9th 2015 – apologies for the belated post. Original link can be seen (here) in Japanese.

Images borrowed from the Rihga Royal Hotel Osaka Website.

*Images of exhibition may be simulated