While in the U.K. I put in an order from Master’s of Malt. One of the bottle sets that caught my eye was the Unusual Cask Whisky Tasting Set . I’m a fan of odd finishes, so I thought it would be fun.
I have never been one of “those” geeks who loves Japan unconditionally. And we all have met someone who is so Otaku it hurts. They pronounce animé as “ah-ni-may”, they always say katanas are under powered in every game, ever, and they act like they follow a bushido code. You end up with PTSD from being around them and hearing “Kawai” too often.
But we’re not talking about games, culture, relative strength, or tentacle porn here, we’re talking about whisky. And if you look above, the whisky in my flair is a Japanese malt, so you’d assume that I like Japanese malts. Well…. it’s complicated. So let’s not call me a Japanophile just yet.
Hakushu Bourbon Barrel is made by the Suntory Whisky Company, uses water from the Southern Japanese Alps, and is lightly peated. Not only that, unlike the rest of it’s traditional line up, this is aged entirely in first fill Bourbon Barrels. All of that means that I should enjoy it, however I’ve been burned by Japanese malts in the past.
Price: N/A in Ontario
Colour: Light goldenrod
Nose: Cinnamon, ginger, plum, vanilla, clover, cherry lip balm
Starts out really spicy, with lots of different flavours, however the cracks in the wall start after nosing it for a bit. I feel almost betrayed with the cherry lip balm smell, as it’s very fake.
Taste: Cherry brandy, lots of ginger, plum, licorice, honey, hot, vanilla, grass
Ever bite into a ginger root? Well now you don’t have to, as this is just ginger. It’s hard to get around it actually, as I keep tasting more and more ginger. Too much ginger. No soul ginger. Should have red hair on the bottle to warn you ginger. And not like the good kind of ginger either over at /r/ginger , this is rough ginger (LINK NSFW)
Finish: Plum, weak vanilla sauce, rock candy, pepper, maple syrup, taro
There’s a faint, quick finish on this one. Took awhile, however some of the sweetness and Japanese flavour of taro came out, so that’s a plus. It’s quite sweet though.
Conclusion: So…. not really my thing. Fun Story: I live in a city that has a large Asian population. In my part, Japanese baking is a big thing. And if you’ve ever seen Japanese cakes, you’ll know they look great. And the flavour is muted. This reminded me of those cakes. Everything about it isn’t subtle, it’s muted, except for a big old taste of ginger.
There’s something here, it just needs to be finessed more before I buy it again. I wouldn’t recommend this one unless you’re a fan of the Hakushu line.
World Whisky review #29, Japanese whisky #3, Whisky Network review #153
1001 Whiskies to taste before you die review #88