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I've only been into whisky for a few months, although I'm a bit of a beer and wine buff. It all started in Japan in October 2014 when I brought my father-in-law a bottle of Scotch. Although it was aged 18 years, it was single cask and was very raw, young and strong. My father-in-law slipped away. He cam back with a Suntory rare whiskey. When I tried it, it was a revelation. No burn, smooth soft and delicate. It was an expensive whisky, and a bit out of my league as a beginner,but the nearest I could get was Hibiki 17 years, which I first drunk in the Park Hyatt New York Bar, Tokyo… and it was just as good.
Colour: Clear light golden brown.
Nose: Plum, golden brown sugar, light vanilla, aged antique wood, wood polish, orange citrous peel, little Japanese umeboshi (sour plum), caramel. On the subtle side there's a little sandalwood, custard.
Taste: Well it's smooth, no burn, which when I first tasted it, blew away every conception and prejudice I had against whisky. There's plum, citrous peel, spice, oak wood, dry aged wood, little subtle vanilla, some very light peat or charcoal, caramel, brown sugar, tobacco leaf, leather, slight floral heather note. It's tangy and a little spicy.
Finish: On the finish there's some light peat or charcoal, spicy, light vanilla and oak. It's fairly long and lingering. A few minutes later there's still the peat and vanilla, and the plum is starting to come back.
It's so smooth and easy to drink it still remains a revelation to me. It's not mind blowing but it's got several flavour complexes going on which all complement each other nicely. One of the most balanced, interesting blends you will every drunk and one of the best blends in the world right now.