Anyone familiar? I saw them briefly on a menu at a restaurant I’m going to be hitting in a few weeks. I have never heard that the Japanese have made serious whiskey, but I wouldn’t put it past them to improve on the drink. Are these worth having?
I think they are good, very well-made, but like anything you have to like the style. For me they really require a lot of tinkering. One really big cube and a lot of time in the glass for me to really appreciate them. Most of the ones I have tried, specifically the aged ones (almost all are blended btw) taste like they come from/mimic Islay Whiskeys, and show either a lot of smoke or a lot of peat (or both). Most are not super subtle. I think the only one I own is Yamazaki 18 (and I don’t drink it often). The last few I tried (Hakushu and some other smaller one, both at a sushi restaurant) tasted like an unfortunate combination of a used ash tray, aged in a sherry cask, and doused in whiskey to taste. It got better after the addition of water and time, but not good enough to really recommend. The Yamazakis have been the best. I have yet to taste the Yoichi, which, strangely, is hard to find here, even though it is owned by Asahi Brewery and that stuff is everywhere.
Anyone familiar with Hibiki 12 yo from Suntory? I recently tried this at a restaurant and was surprised how much I enjoyed this. Given this was suggested by the bartender we had a little discussion about this. Come to find out it is very hard to acquire due to limited supply. My question is, has anyone tried their others in their lineup and if so how does it compare to the 12yo? I only owe one bottle of whisky, but I may have to add a second.
I am with John----well-made but have to like the style. I haven’t found one yet that reaches my personal soul, but they are well made. I think, John, that the Yoichi has been closest to my taste profile, of what I’ve had. I really need to try a few more of these to get to the point of having some reliable data
Haven’t been drinking much whisky in the last 20 years, but my fav were always the peaty ones.
Picked up 2 bottles of The Hakushu 12, which is also a Suntory distillery and tried it last night (my very first Japanese whisky). This is moderately peaty and a little hard on the palate, an ice cube smoothed out the palate nicely though. Quite like it, but this is strictly for fans of peaty malts.
The question remains if it is worth buying vis a vis single malts at $65. My fav used to be Lagavulin 16, but haven’t tried it since it was $40!! and it might not be quite as interesting as that. But it is probably better than Laphroaig 10 and Talisker.
I hate the price increases that have taken place with the Japanese stuff, that coupled with the fact that our store sees it only once or twice a year has taken the will out of me to hunt it down. That being said, Yamazaki Sherry Cask is the best liquid I have ever had. So rich, so much body, just an incredible dram.
I recently bought a bottle of the Hakushu as well, but I think this is a pretty fair question. In my opinion, when the Japanese whiskeys are emulating Scotch, Scotch is going to be a better deal. You can get Talisker, Lagavulin or Laphroaig for less, for example.
The ones that are not Scotch-like are more interesting to me: Hibiki, The Chita (not available in USA, sadly), Nikka Coffey Grain. These are also more versatile than Scotch if you want to make spendy mixed drinks.