Suntory

Review: Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Suntory Toki 1.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
N/A
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Hakushu, Yamazaki, and Chita (Japan)

This whisky has been designed exclusively for the North American Market, and comes at an entry level price. It really is entry level, but that is all it is trying to be. It is designed for versatility, based upon the various ways that whisky is consumed - neat, on the rocks, or in a highball.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Light fruit – pear, peaches, apples, light lemon and grapefruit, and a slightly spicy backdrop with some toffee, brown sugar, and light incense. The palate has a great feel, with some brilliant oak and grain whisky playing around in the background alongside some toffee, and light peach. It’s very easy, light, and relatively simple - i.e. not that interesting – but serves terrifically as a casual sipper and there aren’t any negative elements at all. I’m sure this is what they had in mind when they moved decided to produce this – and they have it accomplished!

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $60. But in terms of Japanese whisky, I think they did a pretty good job! I enjoy the stuff. You can do better in Japanese whisky, but it comes at a price…


Review: Yamazaki 12 Year Old Japanese Single Malt Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
12 Years
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Yamazaki (Osaka, Japan)

Yamazaki is between Osaka and Kyoto, Japan’s first whisky distillery built by Shinjiro Torii. It has 6 different stills all of different shapes and sizes. There are different estimates around how many different styles of malts produced here puts them around 120 –  but no one knows for certain. The distillery is owned by Suntory – one of the world whisky giants.


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

The nose is bready, with some very clear barley notes, papaya, marmelade, and tomato chutney. Also in the mix we have some light floral notes like jasmine, peach, apple, and cinnamon. The palata is quite full, with a focus on buttery barley which is quite magnificent in my opinion. There’s also oak and some fruit in the background, nicely placed around the barley. Very light tannin in the mix as well. The mouthfeel is smooth, though not too thick.  Cinnamon, barley, pear, with a slow light cleansing character on the finish. The flavour has a decent size to it, with bitterness that fades away leaving more of a creamy, slightly sweet, barley character.

I’ve never tasted a whisky which so clearly shows barley in a manner as close to the plain cooked grain as this one. Buttery barley, balanced by pear, vanilla, oak, and light tannin to give an edge. Nicely done.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). Very nice. At the top of this category.

Value: Low. In many places, this isn’t cheap (~$200 CAD).


Review: Hibiki Harmony Blended Japanese Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
Finished in Plum Wine Casks
Recipe
Malt and Grain Whiskies
Distiller Yamazaki, Hakushu & Chita (Japan)

One effect of all the Japanese whisky craze has been an increasing influx of no-age-statement whisky, as this Hibiki whisky has been introduced without one. I find, below, that it isn't inferior to the 12 Year Old.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

On the nose, anise seed, with a general dry spicy feel and some pear. It takes some time to open up with some malt and vanilla coming through. The palate has creamy, buttery barley, with a light smoky end. There is also some rich barley, pear, and some very light earthy notes in the background and a reasonable amount of tannin as well. It’s sweet, with vanilla and a light edge of smoke on the finish. Rich barley is still in the mix, with a tinge of spice. Decent body, with a bit of a peaty vegetal character to it as well. A nice strength to this – the creaminess is nicely buffeted by the 48.2% bottling strength which brings in a strong bit of ancillary flavour.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average. Really not a bad buy for $100, especially for Japanese whisky.