Islay Experience.

Over the next few posts I will be covering what has been the best Whisky experience I have had since starting my malty journey.

Me, Steve Prentice (Somerset Whisky) and Tom Thomson (Tom’s whisky reviews) went on a long weekend Islay tour (and Jura). Full of new experiences, Whisky wonderment and bloody good blokey banter.

As I’m sat on my return ferry contemplating the amazing experience. I have to thank those guys and everyone at the distilleries we visited for their hospitality. I will thank in more detail on the upcoming posts.

Without Steve and Tom though this would have not even possible in the first place and I’m forever indebted to their organisational skills and proud to have these guys as best of malty mates.

Slainte boys. 🙂

Day 1 to come soon…

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Whisky Review – The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky – Distiller’s Reserve

The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky – Distiller’s Reserve
43% ABV
£39.27 from MasterOfMalt

I haven’t tried an awful lot of Japanese Whisky on this blog. But this weekend it changes, as I have 2 entry level whiskies to try from Suntory, and I’m very much looking forward to the new experience.

Now we have Yamazaki Distiller’s reserve. As with Hakushu, in addition to online availability this one is also in Sainsbury’s for £42.00. It’s darker in colour to the Hakushu, let’s have a sniff&sip.

Nose.

Big spicy nose initially, which settles down to give some dark fruit, most noticeably cherries. Dark cherries. I’m guessing mostly sherry matured, this has the trademarks of a sherry bomb, but with variation. There is a little sherry, little fruitcake, little rum and raisin aromas. But then there is this whole forefront of mentholated cherry throat sweets. And I’m not saying it as a bad thing, it’s fundamentally essential sniffing! We also have some intensive toffee and boiled sweetness. Quite jammy now with the cherries feeling quite boiled. More time and we have some aged notes seeping through. Wax polish. Candle wax, and with time floral oak. More of an autumnal nose, but fabulous stuff. Oh my! This is one I can sniff for an age.

Palate.

Thick and lovely in the mouthfeel again. Rich and tasty boiled berry fruits. Strawberry, cherries, plums. Very jammy with some blackberries also. Another easy drinker for 43%. This one is all about the fruit. There’s tonnes of it, all soft boiled, slightly sugared, and with added all spice. This is one jammy Whisky. Exceedingly moreish. I really am loving this, it’s quality. It’s difficult to explain an awful lot when all that’s going through my head is ‘mmmmmmm, yummy’.

Finish.

Sweet, long, a little cream with that warming fruit jam combination. Touches of vanilla giving a custard like pie effect over all that boiled fruity goodness. This really is a dangerous Whisky for all the right reasons! Could easily drink this til there is none left!!

Adding water.

A few small drops added. The nose has more of a classic sherried edge now, with more spiciness forward and a touch of nuttiness. The mentholated cherry has retracted to just cherry, but the fruitiness is still in full effect. The palate is just bloody lovely. Yummmmmmm. Really fruity, jammy, warming, rewarding and delectable. The finish is slightly shorter and less punchy, still very fruity though, with a touch of oak spice and dryness. Personally I wouldn’t water this one, it doesn’t need it, it’s delicious without it.

Conclusion.

This whisky hits many favoured points about my Whisky enjoyment. It’s slightly different from the norm. It’s rich, fruity, has a sherried element (I like sherry bombs, but sometimes I like a change!). It’s easy. It’s moreish. If I wanted to spend hours over it and investigate it’s many nuances I could. If I wanted to kick back, savour, feel good and appreciate some serious Whisky with minimal thought I can do that also! This Whisky rocks!

Between Hakushu and Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve whiskies, I would, at this moment in time pick Yamazaki as the favourite. But on another day I would go the other way around. They are both very competent and extremely enjoyable whiskies.

A massive Thank you must go to Suntory Whisky for providing the review sample.

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Whisky Review – The Hakushu Single Malt Whisky – Distiller’s Reserve

The Hakushu Single Malt Whisky – Distiller’s Reserve
43% ABV
£39.27 from MasterOfMalt

I haven’t tried an awful lot of Japanese Whisky on this blog. But this weekend it changes, as I have 2 entry level whiskies to try from Suntory, and I’m very much looking forward to the new experience.

First off we have Hakushu Distiller’s reserve. In addition to online availability I have also seen this one in Sainsbury’s for £42.00. It’s quite light in colour, here goes with the notes.

Nose.

Fresh, bright, lively nose. Clean citrus fruits. Lemon juice and pith, grapefruit, green apples. Light vanilla with a touch of pepper. This is very sniffable and juicy. A very summery nose. There is a touch of waxiness to the oak coming through after a few minutes in the glass. For a non aged statement, it certainly gives the impression of some well aged Whisky in my glass. With more time we have sweet shop notes, some sherbert, casting sugar sweetness, some fudge and light toffee also. We have some evergreen floral notes. There is also in the very very background the slightest hint of smoke, like a pine tree burning miles away.

Palate.

Sweet, crisp, clean arrival. Then the citrus fruits come forward, juicy and crisp, grapefruit and lemons with sugar on them. I’m also getting a little faint touch of soft melon. Slight touch of pepper spice. Then chewier, toffee, but fruity toffee, like old toffo sweets from years back. Thick vanilla. The mouthfeel is creamy and coating. Throughout development it’s very luxurious feeling, this really has as much as a feel of flavour as the flavour itself. Surprising to realise this is at 43%. It doesn’t feel like it.

Finish.

Medium – long finish. A gentle reminder of the citrus, with some grapefruit, a touch of sweet smoke, and something green and piny. The oak remains at the very end soaking in sweet syrupy fruit juices.

Adding water.

Just a few drops added. More of the green floral notes are forward now. Pine. Evergreen. The citrus is not so evident on the nose. The palate is now sweeter and more about the sugars, with some of the citrus notes returning in the development. Still velvety on the mouth, and has spice and heart. The finish is more about the oak and with a greater level of sweet smokiness. Personally I prefer without water as it has more fruit juices going on, which I personally enjoy, but it’s one to explore with a few drops of water as it may bring out something that’s better for your palate than mine.

Conclusion.

This is a delightful Whisky. Perfect for summer. Compliments a meal nicely on a warmer night as the heat of the day lingers and fades. Lots of lovely sweetness and good citrus fruits, beautifully luxurious on the mouth and has a great ‘feel’ to it. I can easily drink this as a session Whisky, and one which would be good for a reference point before tasting, there is lots to enjoy for the seasoned Whisky drinker in seeking out the flavours as well as with the general Whisky drinker who would just plain love sipping on this for hours.

A massive Thank you must go to Suntory Whisky for providing the review sample.

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