Matsui Mizunara Cask Whisky 700ml
95/100 Jim Murray 2020 Whisky Bible
Winner Japanese Single Malt Whisky of the year in Jim Murray 2020 Bible.
There is a fragility to this aroma almost unmatched in the whisky world:
The malt is sharp and brittle, the sweetness limited to no more than a hint of marzipan.
The oak is another matter altogether: uniquely deft but with just a sharper degree of tannin than from bourbon cask, though without any forcefulness whatsoever…
The grist and light Demerara sugars melt in slow motion, the barley always apparent, a squeeze of citrus always refreshing.
The oak is the embodiment of politeness, waiting for the barley to have its says before moving in like some kind of wooden Japanese crutch to hold the structure together;
The modest oils present means the finish hangs on for a little, while the oak still having the last word, but with not a hint of bitterness or bravado…
If you want to see why Japanese oak can give the indigenous whisky industry a leg up on their rivals, then it might be worth tracking this down.
The flavour profile is really one, to this extent, that you see only in Japan and seems to give an extra sharpness to their malt; as though the colours on the nose and palate are pastel shaded and not just water.
A quite beautiful whisky, as elegant and delicate as a demure Japanese girlfriend in a flowing silk kimono. -Jim Murray-