A very acceptable blended whisky. This is the standard Suntory blend. It comes in the company's distinctive turtle shell patterned glass bottle. The photo above is of the 180ml bottle. The bigger bottle, as the name implies in Japanese, is much squarer.
The whisky itself isn`t exactly bursting with character but is quite drinkable, in fact quite moreish. I tasted it neat. It was mild and sweet with a hint of that friendly oiliness you get in some Irish whiskeys.
It has none of the subtlety of the premium Suntory blend, Hibiki 17. It is also lacking the distinctive character that some of the single malts I have given the two star rating to were offering. They were wearing their hearts on their sleeves and sometimes lost out because of their honesty. This one is a calculating fellow, not giving too much out and not particularly memorable, but not making enemies either.
(By the way, Kakubin whisky appears to have some symbolic resonance for some Japanese people. As it says on the bottle, it traces its roots back 1937 and thus bridges the yawning divide between an imperial and militarist Japan and the post-defeat, post-imperial boom years. The second episode of the "Bartender" anime used Kakubin and this symbolism.)
Yellow label Kakubin qualifies for entry in the Mizuwari Death Match . In fact, its price defines the upper limit for Death Match entrants. So it goes through to the inaugural challenge fight against its much cheaper Suntory stablemate "Torys". May the best Mizuwari win!
40 per cent
Price (May 2007)
700 ml - 1,359 yen