Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Yamazaki 12 Year Old

Well I am back at it again after a brief vacation. An interesting vacation to say the least. I was on a cruise with the family, and wouldn't you know it the ship suffered a Norovirus outbreak. We missed two of four ports and the ship returned two days early. At first this sounds like bad luck but my family and I are able to see the silver lining in things. The illness made the trip more of an adventure. I found myself thinking of Zombie and other disaster movies. I was always keeping stock of my surroundings and calculating escape routes and safe hiding spots. The non stop gourmet food didn't hurt either and trying different whiskies at the bar every night was a definite highlight for me. We are already looking forward to our next cruise.

I am also excited to be getting back to my blog. Day number three of the advent calendar presented me with a Yamazaki 12 year old. This will be only the second Japanese single malt I have ever sampled. My first was a Yamazaki 18 year old, which if I recall correctly I found to be a bit flat. It was good but not spectacular. For musical accompaniment I have decided on Phish live in Japan.

This show from June 14, 2000 was recorded live at the Drum Logos club in Fukuoka, Japan and released as Live Phish Vol. 4. Since they are playing a small club instead of a large arena there are differences in the feel of the show. For example a person can be heard calling out for the band to play "Gumbo". The band acknowledges the request and then busts out a stellar version. In any of the shows I have attended (in large venues) I have not seen any such granting of requests. I think that is the beauty of the small venue. The interaction between audience and performer is heightened by the more intimate surroundings. Even the bands jamming seems a bit more intimate. It's almost as though they are just playing for some friends at home, unconcerned and willing to take additional risks. 

It is now time to say Kampai and enjoy this sample. 

Nose: Vanilla strikes first this is further sweetened by clove honey. There is also a tropical fruit and citrus character, perhaps banana or papaya with a squeeze of lime. There may also be something floral about the nose.

Palate: The initial mouth feel is soft and then a spicy tingle develops. The initial notes are of soft wood. The spice profile I would have to describe as gingery. There is a berry flavour that jumps in quickly and neatly segues into the finish.

Finish: This is a long finish. The berry taste at the end of the palate neatly brings about peppery ginger notes. The berry sweetness hangs on as a shadow. The feel is a bit off. 

Over all a pleasant dram. Though there is something about the finish that doesn't quite work for me. The flavours work well, I just detect something in the mouth feel near the very end that is almost gritty. As with the cruise it may seem like I have had bad luck with Japanese whiskies. I however strongly agree with the quote of American Author William Faulkner "There is no such thing as bad whiskey. Some whiskeys just happen to be better than others." 

and on that note Arigato and a good night to all.


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