It tastes like Scotch … Suntory out-Scotches the most storied Scotch distillers. Given the Japanese craze, there are so many new Japanese whisky’s that I can’t comment on. I can only comment on the established ones — Suntory and Nikka. The malt whisky tastes like Scotch. Masataka Taketsuru (the first master distiller of Suntory whisky, and later founder of Nikka) learned how to make whisky in Scotland and married a lovely Scottish woman. The NHK TV series Massan (a love story about Taketsuru and his wife) was a blockbuster hit with Japanese housewives and was responsible for the sudden increase in aged Japanese whisky sales within Japan. This led to a massive shortage of aged Japanese whisky and a massive run-up in prices in around 2015. Suntory was already preparing for increased overseas demand. What Suntory did not anticipate was the domestic Japanese housewife buying 12 year and 18 year aged malts when they were previously buying cheap young whisky for making highballs at home.Never tried a Japanese whiskey.
Indulged in some Buffalo Trace tonight.
Even the most crazed Scotch master distillers couldn’t do what the Japanese do. All of the distillers/blenders at Suntory eat the exact same thing for lunch every day for their entire careers. Udon. This is so they don’t alter their palate for the afternoon/evening tasting. Could you image eating the same bland noodles for lunch for your entire life?
Yamazaki 18 tastes like top shelf sherried scotch easily on par with Macallan 18 (the old stuff) but more complex as some of the casks are Japanese mizunara wood and impart a unique flavor.
Yamasaki 12 tastes like a well balanced lovely oily bodied vanilla bomb with slight citrus and woodiness. It tastes older than 12 years given how smooth it goes down and there’s a reason you can’t find it. I bought my bottles years ago for 70 bucks or so? Seriously, I would put it up against one of my favorites - Old Pulteney 21 and even that slight sting of the 12 year youth goes down very pleasantly.
Hibiki 17 is a blended whisky and even though it contains grain whisky, I swear it tastes like 100% malt scotch from the top shelf. I don’t know how they do it. People who watched the movie Lost In Translation should have listened to Bill Murray and bought a few bottles back when they sold for 35 bucks a bottle.
Hibiki 12 tastes like a good blended whisky. Not as special as the other three.
Hibiki 21 tastes like Scotch perfection if there is such a thing. Again, a blended whisky containing some grain but you would swear it was 100% malt Scotch whisky. There’s nothing it does wrong. I almost opened it on my wedding day but was too exhausted and forgot about it. and it’s now only available to very special friends