Yeah, I know I promised some of you to write something else. I will, I swear! Today, has two spirits. First is Laphroaig 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky. It was in a tiny bottle at Jasco for about 800 yen, the same price for a regular sized bottle of middle shelf Shochu.  The bottle itself only held about a finger’s worth of liquor. That’s all I needed.

The main thing I can say here is, boy, now I see why the hard-core Latakia smokers loved this stuff. It’s like the old Dunhill Nightcap pipe blend in a glass. Strong, overpowering to the senses, smokey and earthy, with a finish that doesn’t clear for minutes. I hesitate to think what the sensory feel would be like if I wasn’t suffering from a bit of a cold/hay fever. I’m not very good at delaying gratification on such matters, so I decided to pop it. I know I’m missing a lot of the nuances of the sweeter, more ephemeral top notes to the basso profundo peatiness of it all. This is something I’m going to be drinking again, that’s for damn sure. I’ll definately write about it again to boot. After all, Laphoaig is the legendary strongest flavored of all the Scotches. This goes up there with Broadbent Bual 12 year old Madeira and Jade “1901” Absinthe in my book of memorable drinks.

Next up The Yamazaki 10 year Old Single Malt.

Not as good as the Lamphroaig, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so. The bouquet is a bit off, smelling a bit of wood varnish at times, though it could just be my cold losing the nice portions of it. Luckily, I purchased a large enough bottle I can reserve some for when I feel better. It’s a lot sweeter than the other stuff I’ve tried, but not cloyingly so. Oddly, at times, the strongest flavor is reminscent of Canadian maple. I wonder what type of wood it was aged in, as the peatiness is quite low and a certain woodiness emerges at times. Unfortunately I’m losing my sense of smell by the hour, so I’ll wrap this up now. I took pics of the bottles and glasses, as usual, but have not bothered to upload them, as also is usual.

More normal posts will be forthcoming soon.

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Today while shopping at Max Value, I found something I found eye catching. On the clearance shelf in the liquor section there was a small bottle of whisky marked down to 500 yen (around five bucks). Above the garish markdown label was the English phrase “17 years”.

Now I’ve only had serious whisky one other time in my life. One of those ones aged in sherry casks and a bit cloyingly sweet (relatively speaking) after a successful thesis defense. On seeing this little bottle, I figured it was worth the cost and picked it up.

The name is “Hibiki”, and it’s a 17 year old blend, but usually costs more than single malts (the distinction between blends and single malts and geographic distinctions is about the limit of my whiskey knowledge).

Here’s a website with a bit more information by people who actually know their stuff about such matters.

http://nonjatta.blogspot.com/2007/04/hibiki-17-years.html

When poured, it about only amounts to a finger and a half’s worth of alcohol. The bottle is pretty damn small, with the bottom looking a bit more volumous than it actually is. No matter, still a good deal.

The bouquet is amazing. If I was blindfolded, I would have guessed it was a Sercial Madeira with interesting hints of wood. I don’t see the floralness, it’s closer to candied fruits to me. The taste is slightly sweet on the tongue, but given my inexperience with whisky, I don’t know how it relates among other whiskys in that regard. Other than an initial toffee and fruit burst at the beginning, the taste is really woody, with the nose and finish being long and creamy. For some reason it’s evocative of hot cocoa in a roughly hewn Oregon wood cabin. I simply can’t describe the complexiety of the finish with any justice. You’d have to give it a shot yourself.

All in all, highly recommended.

Pics forthcoming when I actually get around to loading them. Yeah, I know, I’m lazy.