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Whisky Reviews

Suntory 謎 "Nazo", b.2000, Special Marriage Whisky, Warehouse 37-17-1, Barrel no. EGハ8001, 43% abv.



Brand new bottle. Originally not for sale, but online sources say it was sold for ¥5000? According to the label it is Yamazaki, but the bartender said it's blended with grain. Selected (and blended) by novelist Oosawa Arimasa (大沢在昌) of the Japan Association of Mystery/Detective Novelists. The mystery is the 70% malt whisky used. A deeper look suggests the 70% is sherried Yamazaki distilled in the 90s. This 謎 ("mystery") series has gone on till 2007 with those from 2005 being single malt. The process involves a novelist from the Association making the blend or picking the single malt.

Nose: strong toast aromas similar to what I get from Chichibu single casks, vanilla, hints of melons, honey, and grapes in the background; very sultry at such low abv. With time it transitions into a sort of bbq sauce, vinegar and worchester sauce, gets a little sour jello. Then it returns to toast, then sour bbq sauce, repeat. Converges to something in-between.

Palate: light body but good depth/intensity, relatively balanced, initial palate is like grape-honey juice, mid palate develops some spice but not too much, generally sweet and goes more towards grape syrup, back palate shows peaches, baked apples and peaches, residual peach cobbler, something in between smoked and baked fleshy fruits. All these flavors get lighter with subsequent sips, like the whisky forgot what it was.

Finish: medium to long, has the apple and peaches, goes long on some dry mineral-y apple/pear.

This is surprisingly very tasty for a suspicious bottle... I suspect this is "older" than what the label would suggest but screams bourbon barrel. Gets quite weak after the first sip, but still maintains that aroma profile.


Image courtesy of Eric Yee.


Eric Yee

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