Show rating data charts
Distribution of ratings for this:
Review of a 18cl (180ml) bottle circa 2005 bottling. My first Japanese whisky experience.
First reaction, from nosing of bottle immediately after cap removal is distinctly and umistakably, of plum wine. A wonderful thing to experience for the first time! I left the bottle alone for 15 minutes before pouring a dram for nosing and tasting and followed up the tasting the next day, these are combined notes with my final score.
Nose: Plum wine prominent, a little "feinty" (for a 17 year old whisky?), caramelised sugar. Caramel intensifies over time and comes to dominate. Not much else in there, except maybe a floral hint.
Taste: Pepper first, followed by red wine (is that some sherry)? Light mouthfeel. A little "bitey". Pepper mellows to something vaguely reminiscent of radish while sherry dissipates, some citrus comes on too. Soft grain sweetness develops. Interesting bitter turn upon swallowing.
Finish: Starts bitter. Dry. Citrus makes an appearance briefly. Quite long and warming! Bitterness dissipates. Left with some soft cereal notes and what might be a hint of that plum.
Balance: Not as "harmonious" (as the translation of Hibiki implies), I find that although certain elements in this whisky work well, they do not combine in such a way as to elevate the overall experience, such as a very good whisky can do.
The caramel somewhat overshadows the exquisite plum in the nose, the sherry notes (and whatever else might have been there to taste) seem to have been "muted" by the grain and there is a discord between nose and taste. Bitterness, whilst tolerable, is not beneficial and tends to be overly prominent during tasting and finishing.
Overall: A good whisky, interesting, but all I'm really left with is "caramel and plum wine" and some mild annoyance at the bitterness. Not as smooth as I'd hoped for. Still a damned good blend, however!