6 October 2017

04/10/2017 The Way of Whisky

A Japanese-whisky tasting at Bull in a China Shop that doubles up as a launch event for Dave Broom's new book? What a good idea!

The cask is made by Alphaville

The venue is what looks like a tent at the back of the pub. It is pleasant and open, but on this October Wednesday night, is is also windy, chilly and noisy. The complimentary highball does not help and I do not drink tea, which is also offered.

"Can you hear me at that back table, lady on the phone? I didn't mean to embarrass you..."

Odd choice of glasses

The session is a mix of anecdotes, findings, gathered during various trips to Japan, over the past eighteen years, excerpts from the book and some dramming.

The Yamazaki 12yo (43%, OB imported by Morrison Bowmore, b. ca 2017): I have not had this in a very long while. Good to revisit it. Nose: freshly-cut orange slices and dry, white wood. Mouth: light and gentle, almost absent. Soon, orange slices appear, delicately acidic and fruity. Finish: again, orange slices, yet this time with vanilla and a touch of white sawdust. This is perfect, yet also rather boring. I am sure the huge tumbler does not help the nose shine brighter. 7/10

"Whisky writers rarely read from their books. We usually pour whisky down your throats, then you buy the book."

About Masetaka Taketsuru and Shinjiro Torii's notorious fall-out:

"Taketsuru and Torii had musical differences. That difficult third album."

Nikka From the Barrel (51.4%, OB imported by La Maison du Whisky, b. ca 2017, 5-4-31, 6/060?): just like the other day, the HMRC sticker is on the bottle code, hence the question mark. Nose: mild spices, beard (yep, we are in Shoreditch), dried apricots and walnuts. Mouth: nutty, with more dried apricot and very old sofas. Finish: it packs a punch, with wood, nuts, dried apricots and a warm stove. 7/10

"He went to Yoichi, which is a bit like the Campbeltown of Hokkaido. Except, less violent."

Hibiki Japanese Harmony (43%, OB imported by Beam Inc. UK, b. ca 2017): we had this a few days ago. Nose: jasmine flowers, honeysuckle, rosewater. Mouth: soft, velvety, with orange blossom and rosehip. It feels watery, after a moment in the mouth. Finish: suddenly very watery, with a vaguely bitter touch -- Brazil nuts, even Kluwak nuts. I preferred it the other day. 7/10

Fuji Sanroku Signature Blend (50%, Kirin Distillers, JU854): this blend is very exciting, as this bottling of Fuji-Gotemba is not available in Europe. Straight from Broom's collection. Nose: sweet almond paste, warm, sweet laces being shaped. Mouth: soft, marzipan-y, it then opens up with gentle milled pepper. Finish: mellow, with cherries, magmarzipan, chewy Turkish delights. It also has balsawood and sawdust. This is great, if a little drying. 8/10

Nikka Coffey Malt (45%, OB, b. ca 2017): from Miyagikyo distillery. Nose: Heavy bakery scents, banana turnovers, hot custard. Mouth: mellow as silk, with custard, yoghurt sauce (korma) and a hint of vanilla. Finish: custard, coconut cream, hazelnut paste. Lovely drop. 8/10

JS: "Japan is Number One Drinks."

The Chita (43%, Nikka imported by Beam Suntory UK, b. ca 2017): have not yet tried this either, yay. It is the first we get in a Glencairn too. Nose: chocolate ├ęclairs, yet very subdued, very discreet. Chrysanthemums. Mouth: bad sequence, this. It feels like water. Diluted custard, a touch of liquorice and aniseed. I find it quite bitter. Finish: some action, with lots of flowers, honey and Turkish delights. The whole is delicate, subtle, but flowery. 6/10

Chichibu 2012/2016 The Peated (54.5%, OB Ichiro's Malt imported by Number One Drinks, Bourbon Barrels, Sherry Butts, Hogsheads, 6350b, b#5697): nose: roasted barley and toothpaste. Despite that, it is elegant like a rosewood fire, with pencil lead and pencil shavings. It becomes wider as time goes on, and certainly benefits from being in a Glencairn glass. Mouth: more roasted barley, warm embers, decaying roses Finish: burnt wood, smoked blackberry-tree wood, caramelised honey. 7/10

Good little tasting. The cold and the noise were occasionally inconvenient, but not enough to be a real nuisance. Two girls chatted behind us during the whole tasting. That irritated me more. Not sure why only two out seven drams were served in Glencairns, with the rest in tumblers -- shortage of glasses?

We exchange a few words with DB afterwards, which is always a pleasure. Also, MR makes a late appearance, as does OF. MR starts pouring Elements of Islay; I try Ma2, Lp8, Br7. Tomorrow will be a delicate day. :|-)


  1. Brave. Took me 5 days after The Whisky Show to drink again - and that was beer rather than whisky.

    1. You're weak. :P
      I have an excuse, though: I was with Brave Doom...

    2. But you could just mix both , munchen beer 1st, when whisky. We did it thousands of times to avoid incompleteness)))

  2. Hi fellas. Just found your blog accidentally while looking for lagavulin crate in goole pictures (didn't find). How is all above in compare with suntory old?

    1. I have not tried Suntory Old. The only thing I can say about it is that it is probably much more expensive than what we drank that night.