I’m pairing up two Togouchi’s that i’ve tasted separately, otherwise i’ve got isolated notes floating round which annoys me. My previous blog [Malt n Copper: Xmas tasting] included tasting notes for the Togouchi 18yo. They read as follows:
Togouchi 18yo blend Chugoku Jozo 43.8% WB85.50
Aged in an old 400m exploratory railway tunnel that was never used for said purpose, this is a blend from near Hiroshima, first available [as the 18yo] around 2012. Chugoku Jozo (sake, liqueur, shochu) does not distil whisky but imports it already distilled, directly from Scotland for the malt whisky and from Canada for the grain. Only the operations of ageing and blending are performed by Chugoku Jozo master blenders. [Info thanks to Nick].
- N: Fruity with lots of candied [citrus] fruits and bourbon vanilla ice-cream. It’s what you might call a summer whisky, one that’s beautifully balanced with a fine strength.
- T: Oh so dry and oaky [walnut oak], yet it’s nowhere near over-tannic although the cask element has a hollow quality to it – a sign of age certainly. There’s a touch of ash. Reminds me of the William Grant 25yo WB i have currently open.
- F: Well balanced blackberry eau de vie. The hollow, dry casks [i imagine] seem to have soaked up the spirit, yet with some youthfulness remaining. The dryness finishes ashy.
- C: Don’t get me wrong, it’s good but further investigations fail to sustain my more favourable first impressions. A bit characterless.
Scores 81 points
This is how i found the 12yo which i tried a few months earlier:
I didn’t know anything about Togouchi or the Chugoku Jozo distillery before trying this, but now prepped, no wonder it came across as Scottish – albeit with a Canadian grain base and thousands of air miles. Is such a carbon footprint necessary when Japan is producing excellent whisky? Maybe it’s down to a supply issue? Let’s hope the cost is justified.
- N: It’s a decent cereal led nose, good form, nicely consolidated.
- T: Same as the nose, a well groomed blend ticking all the boxes on a proficiency level although lacking in flair and individual character.
- F: Short but clean
- C: Decent, well crafted, non-demanding Japanese finished, Scottish-Canadian blend that fits neatly into the campfire category. Interesting to note that the earlier version of the 12yo had a higher abv WB. Is that down to the angels or the profit margins, or both?.
Scores 81 points