I had this once a long time ago and was impressed. Just had it again and remembered why. The nose is like a bourbon aged Speyside -- lots of oaky saw dust and cereal grain, with some light orange and lemon gumdrop aromas, almost a Springbank coconut. Very pleasant and appetite arousing. Water brings out some grassy and smoky qualities. The finish is long with citrus. I savored this with sushi. All of this is very subtle. The dominant notes are the pleasant woody aroma turning to citrus. I ignored Yamazaki 12 for a while because it is the most ubiquitous Japanese malt, but I guess there is a good reason. It's easy to enjoy.
n: nice malt and honeycomb wax, graham crackers, and floral. Very much like a fresh box of Cheerios with a peeled tangerine.
t: delicately balanced and nice with aspects from the nose but also some green banana and wet grass. I get a faint hint of smoke in the middle with coy oak. Everything is very subtle (thin body) but I did enjoy this.
Made to pair with food (especialy sushi). Unfortunately the price is now near the $100 mark (cho takai). Good as a first-of-the-night sipper.
NOSE Freshly made Rice Krispy treats & a buttery vanilla banana combo kick things off with touches of tropical fruits and just a hint of smoke. There is a waxy sugar note like, candy corn, that permeates the whole dram and just a touch of toasted brown sugar. Toffee & caramel don’t really come out till much till you add a splash of water and then they jump to the forefront. Grains and wood are almost completely absent from the nose.
PALATE The barley is right there from the get go. Once it moves aside though there is a rather robust vanilla followed by some delicate and pleasant buttery floral and woody notes with just a hint of smoke. There is something a bit medicinal about it but it gets counter acted with some light crisp fruit notes. A little splash of water and some hints of bruleed banana and toasted nuts arrive alongside some rather aggressive caramel and toffee notes.
Toasted malt, leather, caramel, and ash come through pretty strong in the initial aftertaste but as it fades the flavor turns more towards a more woody tone with a strange hint of celery root in there.