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Suntory Yamazaki Mizunara 2013 Release Japanese Oak Cask Single Malt Japanese Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 48%
2013 marks the 90th anniversary of the Yamazaki distillery, which opened in 1923, making this release all the more significant (and collectable). Apart from being a no-age statement single malt, it was matured in casks made from Mizunara (Japanese) oak, a rare, precious species, endemic to the archipelago and one that Suntory began to experiment with after the Second World War when supplies of foreign oak were difficult to source. It made a far from ideal vessel, Mizunara's loose grains tending to cause leakage, and also created challenges in terms of timber selection and cooperage. Blenders at the time had few kind words to say about the wood. Decades later, the tree is better understood, and the hints of sandlewood and aloeswood it imparts to whisky are prized.Non chill-filtered and beautifully packaged, this is super limited and will be an absolute treat for any serious malt enthusiast. Other reviews... Suntory’s quartet of different wood expressions (Mizunara, Puncheon, Sherry, and Bourbon), a virtual deconstruction of Yamazaki’s aged expressions, [represents] a distiller showing a new audience the nuts and bolts of its single malt, showing how different cask types influence character, taking the same base liquid and spinning it into new shapes which then can be brought back together into a multi-faceted, complex whole. Mizunara—or Japanese oak—was considered inferior for many years. Only recently have its extraordinary aromatic qualities been appreciated. These are immediately apparent on the nose: aloes, wood incense, sandalwood, cinnamon balls, sour cherry, and apple, becoming more gingery with water. Intense and acidic in the mouth, there are tart, stewed red fruits, pomegranate, and citrus. Lightly bitter tannins add to the complexity, as does the smoke rising from the smoldering incense stick. The most significant Japanese whisky of the year?
90 points - www.maltadvocate.com (Winter 2012) Reviewed by: Dave Broom