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Old 05-17-2013, 04:45 AM
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Default Japanese Single Malt Whisky Thread

I've been wanting to start this thread for a while now and am going to start a separate one for Japanese blends too.

Here's just a couple pictures to get things started.

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Old 05-17-2013, 04:51 AM
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Default he who hesitates stays sober

man, my local HAD those hakushu bottles a while back--and i thought about getting one--but they're gone now! BUMMER!!!
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:58 AM
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They're right around the corner in Yamanashi, although a long way from the train station. You can get them at the Yamazaki distillery too, which is only 5 minutes from the station, although it is on the Kyoto/Osaka border.

If you like regular Hakushu, you'll instantly recognize the unique flavor, although my favorite is the Hakushu 10 when it comes to the Hakushu lineup.

Make sure and take a look at the Japanese blended whisky thread too.
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:36 PM
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Are you guys still local? I'm in Yokohama, maybe we should get together for a tasting?
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:46 PM
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Singordie is in Nagaoka, but I'll be around in a few months.

Had some of my dwindling supply of Hakushu 10 last night, and my fortunately mostly full Yoichi 10 - these are two magical drams and my friend kept looking at his glass and saying "How do they do that" in reference to the flavors which I have yet to find from any other source.

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Old 08-01-2013, 03:40 AM
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Default At the recent McTears auction

http://www.mctears.co.uk/auctions/lo...eferrer=browse

Good price.
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Old 08-01-2013, 04:53 AM
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Quote:
YAMAKAZI 50 YEAR OLD Single malt Japanese whisky. Bottled 2011. One of 150 bottles. Produced by Suntory. 700ml, 57% volume. In wooden presentation box. Hammer: £6500
Interesting, but incredible how people constantly call it Yamakazi = 山火事 instead of Yamazaki = 山崎.

I picked up a bottle of Yamazaki 12 last week and highly recommend it.
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Old 09-01-2013, 03:23 AM
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Default imminent "nomikurabe" alert

hey, islay peat! hope you've been well--and STILL hoping to hook up at some point in the not-too-distant future.

I think that i may have mentioned a recent first encounter with hakushu NAS and how i enjoyed it more than i expected to, particularly what i experienced as "green" on both the nose and palate. well, i just picked up a couple of 180ml minis of hakushu NAS and yoichi 10 (which i have not yet tasted, although i enjoyed the richness of the NAS expression). well, i've decided to share the wealth with a couple of neighbors today: one of those neighbors was, after all, the gent who turned me on to hakushu the last time we had a little get-together at his house. i'll share my impressions later on.

slainte!
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Old 09-01-2013, 04:17 AM
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Look forward to sharing in the gathering, even if only in print!

Keep your eyes open for any Hakushu 10 if you can find it, as they replaced it with the slightly more expensive, but in my opinion, not as enjoyable 12 in February.

Don't make the mistake of getting the Yamazaki NAS! While the Hakushu 10 and up are very good, the Yamazaki brand is NOT very good at all until you get to the 10 (I prefer the 12).
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Old 01-27-2014, 04:12 PM
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Islay Peat, what are the two bottles on the right of the top image?
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Old 01-27-2014, 05:36 PM
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More Japanese porn.

One of the Yamazaki annual releases, these are quite sought after and offer a different take on the distillery character found in the standard releases. Getting expensive too .


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Old 01-27-2014, 08:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petesmoke View Post
Islay Peat, what are the two bottles on the right of the top image?
Yamazaki and Hakushu distillery only bottlings and if I remember correctly they have both of them at both distilleries.

Can't remember what I thought of the Yamazaki but the Hakushu was really enjoyable and had that distinctive Hakushu aroma and flavor.
Nice heavy bottles.
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Old 01-29-2014, 02:22 AM
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Islay Peat, this is that Wakatsuru Shuzou Sunshine 20yo 59% Single Malt i mentioned. Only available in Japan.




Made by a sake brewery, for some reason they decided about 23-24 years ago now, to distill a batch of single malt whisky. After 20 years they bottled it and came up with this rather interesting 720ml bottle of the amber nectar. There may be the odd bottle still sitting around on shelves in Japan. Recently another bottling of this has appeared in a rather ugly ceramic bottle, apparently from the same batch but still labelled as a 20yo even though it's approaching 24. I've got through a few of these and a couple left in the stash. A lucky find as i love the stuff.

You'd expect a poor whisky if made by part timers but this is quite wonderful. This is a very lightly peated elegant whisky. Very malty, lightly grassy, pears and green apple, and satsuma. Light wisps of smoke woven through and quite briny. Spicy with white pepper. Very mouthcoating with a long satisfying finish with drying oak at the very end to remind you this is a 20 year old.

Just poured one .


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Old 01-29-2014, 10:18 AM
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I wish I'd known to look for it when I was there, but with an introduction like that, I need no further urging.
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Old 03-23-2014, 12:45 PM
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Just finishing up a bottle of Yamazaki 18 yr ! It's a "godly" single malt.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:47 AM
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Default Yoichi 20 or Hibiki 21

My buddy told me his friend can get me a Yoichi 20 or a Hibiki 21, which one do I want?? In a perfect world, I will take both. BUT, if I can only choose one....... Hmmmmmmm.... Any suggestion??
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:37 AM
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Default Karuizawa

I've heard great things about the Karuizawa malts finished in sherry casks. I have the chance to pick up one of the 17 yr decanters from them on a trip to Japan, but don't know much else. Any Karuizawa experts in the house?
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcodragon View Post
My buddy told me his friend can get me a Yoichi 20 or a Hibiki 21, which one do I want?? In a perfect world, I will take both. BUT, if I can only choose one....... Hmmmmmmm.... Any suggestion??
Then you should make the world perfect and take both but i appreciate these things cost big bucks. Personally i'd go for the Yoichi just because i'm a malt head and i enjoy the more intense flavours from the higher strength.
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnanna922 View Post
I've heard great things about the Karuizawa malts finished in sherry casks. I have the chance to pick up one of the 17 yr decanters from them on a trip to Japan, but don't know much else. Any Karuizawa experts in the house?
They aren't just finished in sherry casks, they have been matured in these casks for the whole maturation period. Be careful with the overrated Karuizawa, they put all their whisky into sherry casks and these sherry casks were sterilised with sulphur candles prior to filling. There will be many casks that escaped the bad contamination but on the whole there were problems and this may have played a role in the reasons why nobody liked the whisky, the distillery failed and was closed.

In Japan there are still bottlings by the old owners (Kirin) still floating around, some of these may be ok but they don't generally have a good reputation. A few years ago all the remaining Karuizawa stocks were bought by an English company called Number One Drinks Company. Their single cask releases are what all the fuss is about. They are a mixture of the good and the bad but have become quite collectable with something of a cult status.

There is a complication with sulphur contamination in whisky. Not everyone can detect it, i'm not sure of the exact figure but estimates lie between 30-50% of any population can detect it. For those lucky souls that can't, or not offended by it, then it's a moot point. For for the rest of us it's a real problem. For some it just destroys the whisky leaving a flat watery wasteland, for others it smells and tastes of cordite, spent fireworks, burnt rubber, etc. and can be quite overpowering.

The short of it is, Karuizawa casks can be great, up there with the best, but there is no guarantee you will like what's in the bottle despite how the bloggers review it. However, this is a closed distillery and the stuff will only become more rare, try it while you can.

Apologies for waffling, but i got the morning off.

Last edited by Petesmoke; 03-31-2014 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 04-01-2014, 05:17 AM
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Default Karuizawa

Thanks for the good info. I might buy one, but I'll do more research first.
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  #21  
Old 04-01-2014, 08:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcodragon View Post
My buddy told me his friend can get me a Yoichi 20 or a Hibiki 21, which one do I want?? In a perfect world, I will take both. BUT, if I can only choose one....... Hmmmmmmm.... Any suggestion??
I can easily imagine you happy with either choice, but if I was choosing between the two it would easily be the single malt Yoichi 20 even over the excellent blend of Hibiki 21.

One tie breaker for you may be if the Hibiki would be coming in one of the exquisite limited edition bottles. The Hibiki 21 is available in two versions of ceramic bottles and the Hibiki 17 is available is a beautifully decorated Hibiki bottle that I would personally love to have.
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:08 PM
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Thank you for the recommendation. Lost the Yoichi 20 though, but managed to get the Hibiki 21(just the regular bottle, not the ceramic limited edition) for $185. Asked my friend to keep an eye out for the Yoichi 20 for me, and grab one when available for me. I will pick it up on my next trip.
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcodragon View Post
Thank you for the recommendation. Lost the Yoichi 20 though, but managed to get the Hibiki 21(just the regular bottle, not the ceramic limited edition) for $185. Asked my friend to keep an eye out for the Yoichi 20 for me, and grab one when available for me. I will pick it up on my next trip.
Your next trip?

If you're going to Japan you'd have a great time going to a couple of the distilleries, especially the Nikka Yoichi (Hokkaido) and Miyagikyou (Sendai) locations.

How are you liking the Hibiki 21 so far?
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:25 AM
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My 2-3 trips a year is going over to Taiwan only. I wish I can go visit the distilleries in Japan..... Though I can try to visit Kavalan Distillery, but I read someplace that they don't offer tour, but I can look for "connection"....

My retired boss's daughter is getting marry this October, and we are having a gathering of the tribe where whisky tasting is THE activity of the day. My Hibiki 21 will be my contribution to the big event....
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:36 PM
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I ended up purchasing a couple decanters released in the mid 2000s. One is a 15 yr and the other is a 17yr single cask whisky aged in sherry butts. I think I'll trade one and drink the other. I'll let you know how it is!
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Old 05-07-2014, 02:51 AM
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What can you tell me about these two?
I purchased my first Japanese whisky a few weeks ago and really liked it. It was a Nikka Yoichi 15.
I just found myself at a local store and found these two. I swear I heard them calling out to me "take us home".
Both 12 year olds but the one on the left was almost twice the price of the other. Did I take it up the wazoo on that one? or get a good deal on the other?
Anyone have a good site for Japanese whisky information?


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Old 05-08-2014, 11:10 AM
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All the Nikka products (Yoichi, Miyagikyou, Taketsuru) are priced pretty poorly over here while the Suntory brand (Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki) has pricing much closer to what it would actually be in Japan.

I really like Miyagikyou and Hakushu both and only your tastes can tell whether it's worth paying the extra for the Nikka brand. One that I would caution against though would be the Taketsuru 12 which goes for about $20 in Japan and more than triple that here. I like the Taketsuru 17, but not the 12, even for $20.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:15 PM
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I have not opened the two bottles above, but did pick up a 12 year Yamazaki last night.
Before I knew it half the bottle was gone. A little on the light side but very delicious. I picked that one up at $50.00 which is the best price around these parts.
I then compaired it to the Nikka Yoichi 15. The 15 is far more complex and my new favorite of all whisky so far.
I don't know about getting the 18 Yamazaki year as it is close to $200.00 per bottle.
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Old 06-15-2014, 05:57 AM
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Just picked up the 2014 Yamazaki Limited Edition. Not going to open it until I see how rare this offering gets. Beautiful bottle with engraving of distillery on the back.
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Old 06-24-2014, 09:41 AM
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Default Transit through Narita

Transit through Narita and had two hours to kill, and wondered into the duty free. Hibiki 30 and Hakushu 25 700ml for USD$965 each is a little high for my wallet. Hibiki 17 for USD$80 each to me is a great deal, considering how hard it is to find them in the States side. Taketsuru Pure Malt 17 & 21 are USD$80 & $60 each...... Hmmmmmm, how many I can bring into Taiwan and then back States side is the problem....
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:19 AM
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I like your choices!
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Old 07-17-2014, 02:16 AM
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Default In and Out purchase at Narita

On my way to Taiwan, I bought two bottles of Hibiki 17 at USD$80 each. Opened one for dinner treating my old friends at a good restaurant - the Hibiki 17 went down very very well. Stashed the other bottle at my mother in-laws' place(nobody drink the hard stuff there ever since my father in-laws passed away).

On my way back from Taiwan, I bought one bottle of Hakushu 18 for USD$165and managed to stuff it into my suitcase after clearing Custom in Detroit, and brought it back to Orlando without breaking the bottle...... I will drink my Hakushu 12 first, to warm up to the Hakushu 18.....
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Old 07-17-2014, 05:11 AM
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I'm looking forward to hearing your take on the 12 and 18, but if you ever see a bottle of the Hakushu 10, buy it immediately.

Every time someone comes over and tries my 10 and 12, they always prefer the 10. Unfortunately it was discontinued and I've got a dwindling supply of it left.
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Old 12-12-2014, 07:52 PM
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What do you guys think about the whole fukushima plant issue? I know technically it wouldn't affect the already produced whiskys but they're still stored near there. Can they be contaminated?
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  #35  
Old 12-14-2014, 10:19 PM
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At least for Nikka and Suntory, they're both quite a ways from the power plant, especially the Yoichi distillery in Hokkaido.
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  #36  
Old 03-04-2015, 09:56 PM
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Default re: Taketsuru

Thanks to Islay Peat for opening my eyes to a new world. His generosity allowed me to sample some Taketsuru 21 and WOW was I impressed. This is the first whisky from Japan I have ever tasted and now I am wondering why it took so long...

I am mainly a bourbon drinker but also very much enjoy scotch. I do not consider myself to be an expert on anything but having tried probably more than 200 different whiskies, I do have some experience.

The Taketsuru 21 is quite simply the best whisky I have ever had. Period. It hit every button for me. Every sip was wonderful and each one had me wanting more. This whiskey is so soft, beautifully viscous. warm and sweet without a hint of being cloying. I was simply blown away. I cannot thank Islay Peat enough for opening my eyes.

I generally don't cross the >$100/bottle barrier but this will be an exception. Luckily, I can find a bottle at my local shop. Taketsuru 21 goes for $149.99 and the 17yr version goes for $129.99.

Are these prices in line with what one should expect?

Cheers.
jim
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