Taketsuru 21 year old
Update 2010: Won "World's Best Blended Malt Whisky" at the 2010 World Whisky Awards.
Update: This one won the 2009 International Spirits Challenge whisky trophy and the "World's best blended malt" prize at the 2009 World Whisky Awards.
Review by Nonjatta contributor - Serge Valentin
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"Taketsuru 21 yo (43%, OB, Pure Malt, +/-2007)
Nose: We’re in the same family as the Pure Malt Red and the Taketsuru 12, but this is obviously more complex and, I must say, quite superb. Once again, we’re in Balvenie territories, with very round notes of quince pie, orange blossom water and apricot jam, the whole then getting even ‘jammier’, with notes of dried longans, figs, dates and a lot of acacia honey. Buttercream, hot brioche. Very round, very soft and very luscious. Reminds me of a Pinot Gris Vendanges Tardives from a good maker. Mouth: Once again, this is very creamy, sweet, rounded and fruity but never ‘lumpish’. Notes of mango pie, Mirabelle jam, Earl Grey tea, bitter oranges marmalade… And then a rather superb spiciness, very mellow but firm. Excellent backbone.
Finish: Longer than the Taketsuru 12 and Red; less sweet, spicier and even a tad peaty/peppery.
Comments: Very excellent, maybe one of the best vatted malts I have had. Masterfully composed. SGP:642 - 90 points." (Serge`s scoring system is explained on this page.)
Price (February 2009): about 10,000 yen for 700 ml.