Royal 12 years old
A bitter farewell (literally)
31st Oct 2012
Best price to buy online:
Tasting Notes by NilsG
Suntory Royal was first released in 1960, and then it has been re-released several times, 6 times in total. What differences there are between these bottles I don't know, couldn't find much information on that. The bottle I'm reviewing was the 3rd generation and also the first to have an age statement on the bottle (12). With the 4th & 5th there was also a 15 year old expression. The one currently in production has once again lost the age statement.
The bottle itself was designed to resemble the kanji (Chinese characters) the Japanese use for the word "sake" (which means alcohol in general, not only rice wine). And it kind of does. Whether it will show or not on the connosr site I don't know but I'll type the character here:
The whisky I'm reviewing was bottled in '95 and had been standing untouched in my father-in-law's cabinet since then. When I discovered and asked about this bottle I had not seen before he just gave it to me cause he had no intention of drinking it himself. He also, to my great surprise, threw in a bottle of Courvosier XO, that in a similar fashion had just been collecting dust for as long as my father in law didn't even know when he received it (the cork on this courvosier completely crumbled to bits when we opened it, but I filtered the liquid over into another bottle and luckily the cognac itself was not damaged, in fact it was fantastic and by far the best thing that came out of my curiosity for the Suntory bottle)
Nose: Pear, chocolate, nail varnish, rubber.
Palate: As soon as it hits the tongue there's a bitter taste with a tiny resemblance to gasoline. I recommend not washing this around in the mouth for too long. But the moment It's swallowed that is replaced by a quite pleasant wave of vanilla.
Finish: The bitterness comes back, but dry pasta oscillates through, and these two tag-team my mouth for a long time, with the occasional assistance of something perfumy taking stabs.
Summary: When I first opened this bottle it had more unnatural/artificial to it, but most of that seemed to soon disappear. I have since then actually enjoyed this whisky quite a lot I must say, but always together with food, or already drunk, or in coffee, and not paying much attention to it. The bad stuff going on in this blend is easy enough to conceal to make it suitable for other ways to drink than neat. I had in mind to give it a score of about 70. But now that I take a closer look and scrutinize it, I simply notice too much sh*t dominating this whisky. It would still be interesting to sample the currently existing "Royal", but I'm not gonna buy a bottle, that's for sure. The reviews I've seen for that one are not the best either.
I started this review as a way to say farewell to one of my first bottles, but the two drams left in it are probably gonna sit a while in the cupboard cause I'm not having this straight again anytime soon. Maybe this royalty will have to end it's reign in an Irish coffin...oh, I mean Irish Coffee.
Royal 12 years old