I find it interesting that my impressions of this whisky should be so different from Daniel Mick's (below). There can be no mistake, we were definitely drinking the same liquid because he was kind enough to send me a sample bottle.
Whereas Daniel found it harsh and gritty, I was struck by its lightness of touch. I suppose the most important thing is we both liked it in our different ways. For me, it smelled of the inside of an empty (week old) milk carton with fairly unobtrusive perfumed soap and guacamole. The taste was light and rounded, dominated by sweet caramel but with hints of aniseed and a subtle smokiness developing.
This was a comfy drink, a description that is not intended to damn with faint praise. What do we buy this stuff for? We're not climbing Everest. We are supposed to be enjoying it.
Review by Nonjatta contributor - Daniel
Score: 91. (He has his own scoring system, which is explained on his bio page.)
"General Comments: I was expecting a safe attempt at a woody Speyside, an offering to round out their lineup, put out quickly at 8 years. Heck, it comes in a screw top wine bottle! But this is some fantabulous whisky. And at 3500yen, it’s a steal.
Appearance/Colour: amber (0.7 using the Whisky Magazine color bar).
Aroma: Fetid marsh on opening. Vegetative. Hot sand and linen. Shoe polish. Red pencil eraser. Peat reek after diluting.
Palate: Biting and industrial. Electric cable. Diesel. Kelp and seaweed.
Finish: Long and complex. Back to the vegetative. Heavy malt and smoke. Leather. Cigar boxes. Hints of seashells and tobacco. Vinyl at the finish. I want to dive back in for the next.
Overall: This would be a fantastic Islay expression. Harsh and gritty and kind of wonderful."
Reviews by othersMichael Jackson, Whisky Magazine, 26，16/10/2002. 7.5/10. Jackson found it elegant. He said it had a "sweet, vegetal" nose, a silky, scenty, "pistachio ice cream" palate.
Dave Broom, Whisky Magazine, 26，16/10/2002. 6.75/10. Broom was slightly less impressed. He said the whisky was torn between "firm wood" flavours and a light crispness. The nose had bran flakes, nuts and sour cream. The palate started cleanly but developed unimpressively.
Description from the company selling itThis description is quoted on the Toa website, quoting "whisky connoisseur John Raymond". "Nose: Quite dark & nutty, medium-bodied and dry with hints of toffee & honey, unctuously smooth. Palate: Dry, quite big-bodied, dark & nutty with quite solid tannins and a good green peatiness. Finish: Quite long and tangy with a big belt of smoke on the tail. Sweetness: 4, Peatiness: 7."
43 per cent
Price (April 2007)
700 ml - 3,500 yen