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This is cask-strength edition of Kaiyo's Mizunara matured whisky. It's a rare beast, as there's not much Mizunara – Japanese oak – and only a tiny amount gets turned into whisky casks. It's worth the effort, as it adds a distinctly Japanese edge to the whisky, layering on incense-laden spiciness. Kaiyo go even further, shipping their casks out to sea for months before bottling to give them a gentle rock on the waves, getting even more flavour out of the wood.
- Black Pepper
Very subtle and complex. Nose is restrained but give a richness and floral fruitiness of caramel, chestnut/hazelnuts, slight acetone from the grain but it really carries the flavours. Palate: May seem a bit thin at first but keep it in your mouth and you get a real burst of flowers, slight plum notes, very heady potpourri type vapours, vanilla and the fresh waxy mizunara taste. (For me no notes of coffee, pepper, or clove, but lots of aromatic flowers. When the bottle oxidises this is going to become a very layered malt Finish: short but warming as it goes down. Grassy and really aromatic. Comparing to the hibiki harmony would be the closest and even then its a very different. Where the hibiki has sweet, ashy incense nose but is weak on the palate this is much more filled out. Don't add more than a few drops of water even at 53% it's very fragile.
What a gem – big and balanced with a long finish.
Really nice job extracting all the flavors from the oak wood, a familiar yet unique incense-spice cuts nicely against the ambitious 53% ABV. Outstanding result.
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