Review: Kaiyo Whisky - Japanese Mizunara Oak
About Kaiyō Whisky
My first meeting with Kaiyō Whisky was during a blind tasting of Japanese whiskies. I had discovered a trend while tasting these well-crafted gems from overseas and so when I tasted the first two whiskies, I was comforted to find that once again there were those floral, fruity, and citrus notes surrounded by this hard to describe "Japanese" note. When I tasted this third one, it was like a took a left turn. Although not quite as harsh a jolt as going from a GlenDronach to a Laphroaig, I definitely sensed I was tasting something new.
Come to find out, this whisky spends time on the ocean, similar to Cognac, Madeira, or Jefferson's Ocean at Sea. And while many, including the master blender who created this, thought this was a gimmick, the results are apparent in the finished product.
- Origin: Blend (Japan)
- Type: Blended Malt (from multiple sources)
- Times Distilled: Double
- Barrels: Japanese Mizunara Oak
- Finish: None
- ABV: 43%
- Age: NAS
- Color: 0 (Unsure if added)
- Chill-Filtered: No
- Price Range: $60-$65
Tasting Notes / Experience
Legs: Thin to medium and slow
On the Nose (Scents & Experience):
- Nice light smoke
- Sweet pork barbeque
- Black tea
- Hint of caramel
On the Palate (Flavors & Experience):
- Pinch of salt
The Finish (Flavors & Experience):
- Light smoke
- Lapsang Souchang Black tea
- Length: Long and pleasant hanging in the black tea range.
Just when I was starting to sense a trend in the nosing and flavors of Japanese whisky, along come this little surprise. Tasting side by side with Nikka's Super Rare Old and Chita Single Grain, I was expecting that same unnamed note I get in many Japanese whiskies and the floral and citrus flavors. But just like Scotland has her fruity vs smoky whiskies, this one bucks the trend of Japanese whisky and feeds on the more salty, smoky and savory notes while still revealing some underlying sweetness. As a fan of Islay smoke, this whisky fits the bill. But where Islay goes medicinal at times, this one goes right into smoky black tea. A really nice entry into the Japanese market.
In a Word: