It has to be said that what the Japanese don’t know about making whisky is probably not worth knowing. But on the off chance if there ever is, I’m sure it’d be fairly unimportant and if written down would take up a space no bigger than one of the torn tooth perforations on a stamp.
have well and truly been turning, and with their ever growing and consistent
levels of precision Japanese dramineering, I’m sure they can now teach the rest
of the world a thing or two about whisky, including those north of the English
to sampling some amazing whiskies over the last year from Japanese dramming
heavyweights such as Suntory and Nikka, my two biggest highlights have
originated from the slightly lesser known but the equally as fabulous Chichibu
and Karuizawa distilleries.
at times age is nothing but a number, and not necessarily the be all and end all
when it comes to producing whisky, Chicibu delighted the world with its first
release in the form of a simply outstanding three year old whisky 'The First'. A dram so
deliciously deep and complex, that if you were tasting it blind you could quite
easily be forgiven for thinking you’re were dramming something four times its
the age ladder, I was recently very fortunate enough to sample a couple of new releases
from Karuizawa care of those fine folks at The Whisky Exchange. One of which was
their first ever bourbon matured offering from 1982, which could be summed up
with a simple WOW! But l think it deserves a little more justice than just that.
kicks off with a wowing wanton waft of all things peachy, both of the tinned
and oven baked variety. Followed by courageous quaffable whiffs of high rye
content bourbon, and an infusion of dark red cherries, spiced dried oak, and a
smouldering leather wing armchair that’s just been doused down after being
pulled out of a bonfire.
A tray of
warm vanilla Danish pastries and a slice of toasted malt loaf that's been conservatively
smeared in apricot jam make for the next set of nasal niceties, along with
bursts of fizzy cola bottles, Paynes mint cream Poppets and cough candies.
toasted walnuts and a box of struck and spent matches then add an additional
uplifting level of balance to the proceedings, as does a hot mug of sweet builder’s
tea and an eventual subtle appearance of dark spiced caramel and a whiff-ette
kicks off with an ooze-ette of opulent oak and a lingering kiss of a Maraschino
cherry that’s been mischievously macerating away in an Old Fashioned cocktail.
almonds and an infusion of five spice and honey make for the next set of
delights, along with a warm wedge of homemade treacle tart, that’s been dutifully drenched in a summer and autumn berry coulis.
white pepper, a cup of Turkish coffee and a squirt of vanilla syrup then
provide an elevated level of eclectic depth and balance, as does a handful of
chopped parsley, a few squares of Fry’s chocolate cream and something subtly aniseed
The finish although
a tad hesitant to begin with, is as pleasurable to endure as the nosing and
tasting. Infact it goes on to linger and deliver its wares for longer than you
may expect. But when it finally gives up delivering its riches and fades away,
the phrase of ‘parting is such sweet sorrow’ couldn’t be more appropriate.