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Whisky Reviews

Yamazaki 1996-2009, Selected by Isetan, Barrel no. AW70049, Location Ohmi Aging Cellar, 56-E-21-8, Bottle no. 063, 57% abv.



Nose: initially boiled vegetables, legumes, vines, some salt, sugar, and then most components turn into honey, cinnamon, ginger, oranges, dried fruit, a little bit of vanilla, fruit cake or carrot cake, roasted walnuts, some licorice, baked pecan, old XO cognac, hints of acetone? with time some coconut appears. Luxurious.

Palate: medium to full body, quite dry, oily, complex, initial palate is smoked honey, hints of cinnamon, light fish soup, mid palate increases the honey, evidence of fruit including green apples, melon candy, sweet carrots, very sweet pears, gets very oily, ginger, hints of not-so-sour citrus, Brazilian nuts, roasted unsalted almonds, walnuts, diluted maple syrup with smoked wood chips and nut shells floating inside, smoked food in general, smoked coconut shells?, sweetened smoked maple twigs, back palate has some paper, more smoked honey, bbq wood chips, smoked brown sugar blocks, a smokey caramel if you will, hints of hazelnuts.

Finish: medium to long, oily, warm unripe green apple pie, hints of diluted cranberry juice, grass juice, hints of mango peel, butter, roasted hazelnuts, with time there is fish soup, flounder bones boiled for hours... mizunara elements?

Jesus Christ, this is very good; quite complicated and mysterious! Obviously not a wine or fortified wine cask, but it shows a different path from typical bourbon casks, so I am led to believe it is either a very good bourbon or mizunara cask... the youth hides the real mizunara contributions according to my Japanese bartender friends. The presence of fish soup suggests to me at least there is mizunara. Loads of everything except traditional sherry and wine cask flavors and there is an element of smoked food in there.


Image courtesy of Eric Yee.


Eric Yee

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