963 Red Label "Rich & Sweet" Blended Japanese Whisky (700ml)
Sasanokawa Shuzo (also behind the Yamazakura whiskies) has created a charming malt and grain blend here. Located in Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture, the company has been producing whisky since 1946, however their history is in sake and shochu which they've made since the late 1700s. The provenance of the liquid is not disclosed, however in true Japanese style, the producers say the flavour is aimed at "delightful surprise".
Tasting note: [20ml sample] Unlike Shuzo's Black Label, this is unpeated, with some of the liquid coming finished in sherry casks. Shy opening scents develop to attractive fruity, dried pear and apple over light vanilla. Medium weight with a decent injection of malt and spice through the mid palate. Hints of dried fruits, with warming spices adding zest to the finish. Seems more complex and substantial than its smokey sibling. 43% Alc./Vol. Non chill filtered.