Infact they just happen to know a thing or two about whisky, very good whisky! Which not only gives the rest of the dramming world a good run for its money, but also manages to compete very confidently with some of the finest drams from Speyside.
Despite only really gaining popularity in the UK over the last eight years or so, whisky has actually been distilled and produced in Japan for the best part of 100 years.
From single malts to blends, there has been a dramtabulous wave of drammage hitting our shores and stores from the Far East, over the last few years. Including a particularly fine vatted combination of single malts that make up the ‘Ichiro’s Mizunara Wood Reserve’.
The nose kicks off with a whirlwind of woody wonderment. Fresh waves of sweet oak, hints of a Norwegian pine forest and a raucous helping of cedar and sandalwood.
Things then begin to spice up a tad with the arrival of a crushed cluster of cloves and pimento seeds, of which deliver an aroma that wonderously fills the glass as a boiling Christmas gammon would fill a kitchen as it boils in an abudnace of aromatics before being flung into an oven for its final hamming stages.
Toffee coated Granny Smith apples, a bowl of sugar coated gooseberries and a handful of crushed walnuts make for the next set of nasal delights, along with something rather Girvan Grain-esque followed by a very cheeky kick of rye.
The palate is rich and flowing with yet more wood based delights, infact it’s fair to say that this dram is a bit of a splintery, sweet, spicy, palatable symphony. Everything that was hinted on the nose has well and truly been brought to life on the palate.
The palate then gradually loses some of its wood heaviness, in favour of something sweeter and fruitier, in the form of some summer fruit jam. Followed by more of that cheeky rye, which works hand in hand with the jam, spices and wood to deliver a phenomenal long and lingering finish.
This is an absolute delight of a dram and yet another superb example of what is being produced whisky wise in Japan. I would wholeheartedly recommend this to enthusiasts and newbie’s alike, but if it exceeds your dramming budget there's a whole host of other Japanese drams on the market that I urge you to give a whirl.