Miyagikyo Fruity and Rich No Age Statement 55%abv

P1050320Nose: Cantaloupe, honeydew melon, fresh cut timber, pears, white grapes, white peaches, honey. Water brings out a heather note.
Palate: Honey, sweet baking spices, vanilla, pears, lychee, bakers yeast, the cantaloupe and honeydew melon combo and chili powder. The chili powder hits quite hard within a few seconds so prefer this with H2O. Water also adds cashews and a buttery mouth feel.
Finish: Fades quite quickly on some trailing cantaloupe, lychee and menthol.
Last Word: Rich, not so sure, fruity…..definitely!.

Rating 84/100

Nikka Coffey Malt Whisky No Age Statement 45%abv

P1050286Nose: Red apples, maple syrup, banana, grilled corn, toffee, nutmeg, cafe latte. 
Red grapes, maple syrup, peanut butter, cafe latte, ginger ale, honey, marzipan, tangy orange.
Finish: Nutmeg, toffee, cafe latte, cocoa.
Last Word: Smooth with the mellow vibe of a well made grain whisky. Fairly sweet but I personally don’t find the sweetness cloying. Good value for the quality.

Rating: 86/100

Miyagikyo 20YO Single Sherry Cask #117483 60%abv

P1050280Nose: Big rich sherry for sure. The usual suspects of raisins, prunes, dates, cherries, Christmas cake,caramelized orange juice. Also treacle, nutmeg, paprika, white pepper, black tea, pine, dark chocolate, licorice and old leather. For mine, a great sherry cask nose.
Palate: Again rich with well controlled oak. Nicely balanced bitter and sweet. Follows the nose closely but there is also, walnuts, Brazil nuts and peanuts.
Finish: Is long and fruity with some pine, menthol and tannins.
Last Word: Miyagikyo whisky is mostly thought of as light/soft/delicate. Try one of their single cask whiskies and you will discover how robust and interesting they can be. For myself this is a highly underrated distillery. With prices somewhat less that the Japanese big four, Karuizawa, Hanyu, Yamazaki and Yoichi, jump in and grab some Miyagikyo Single Cask Whisky while the going is still relatively good.

Rating: 92/100

Miyagikyo NAS 2015 45%abv

BAL_0459Nose: Barley sugars, red apples, dried pears, lemon pie, nougat, apricots, subtle wild flowers.
Palate: Lemon sherbet, barley sugars, dried pears, oak, nougat, macadamia nuts, marzipan, white pepper, spearmint, a little smoke and ash.
Finish: Nougat, macadamia nuts, barley, oak, ash, mineralized water.
Last Word: This is a smooth and subtle style of whisky with enough quality and complexity for the price point in Japan. Nice summer sipper. As this will be the main single malt offering from Miyagikyo for a number of years to come I hope they will tweak the make up from time to time to give us some variety. I have open bottles of both the 12 and 15 year olds and they are definitely bolder and more complex whiskies.

Rating: 84/100

Miyagikyo 15YO 45% circa 2013

miyagikyo-15Nose: Lots of seaside notes: salt, seaweed, shellfish, sea urchin. Also mixed nuts, toffee, fruit gums . After about 30 minutes, tobacco, leather, melons, lychees and apricots.
Palate: Buttery, chocolate, fruit tingles, brazil nuts, toffee, cocoa powder, nutmeg, nougat and menthol. Later lychees, rock melons, a surprising amount of pure smokiness, then ash but without excessive dryness. Wonderfully rounded.
Finish: Buttery, nutty, cocoa, nutmeg, rock melon and honeydew melon. Menthol then long lingering smoke.
Last Word: Displays superb clarity.

Rating: 90/100

Miyagikyo Single Cask 1996 16YO Sherry Butt #118913 Warehouse No. 25 60%abv


Nose: Bovril, Horlicks, kirsch and the black forest cake it’s drizzled over. Thick and concentrated with a meaty element balancing out the sweetness. Burnt orange jus. A kind of fizzy Cola/Fanta mix. Clings to the nasal passages. Dried apricots, beef and veggie stew, dry sherry, vegemite, duck fat fries.
Palate: Bang! All the flavors of the palate but errs on the meaty side. Some sugar coated mint jubes. Very concentrated. Water enhances the sweeter elements and ups the mint level.
Finish: Very long. Meaty, minty, black cherries, chocolate, dry sherry, orange.
Last Word: This one sits on a razor’s edge. I swear, one more day in this cask and it becomes a sulpur bomb. As it stands, this is my favorite Miyagikyo so far.

Rating: 92/100

Miyagikyo no age statement. 43%abv


Nose: Pine, lime, green apples/apple peel, liquorice. The malt is there, but is in the background. The description sounds woody/citrusy, but there is also a sweetness there. The oak rears it’s head after about 5 minutes, also some soapiness. Definite agave notes after about 10 minutes (nice for me, as I enjoy a good tequila as well).
Palate: Shows plenty of youthful exuberance. Creamy. Brazil nuts, nutmeg, malt and some lemon sherbet sweet tang.
Finish: Nicely malty now. Nutty, sweet spices. Not particularly long.
General comment: I also have a bottle of the Yoichi No age statement. I prefer the offering from Miyagikyo for once. Incredible value for a single malt in Japan at around 1,000-1400 yen.
Rating: 84/100

Nikka 70th Anniversary Selection Miyagikyo 12YO 58% ABV


Nose: Mint chocolate, pine, woodstain, Chicos chocolates, sawdust, rhubarb, leather.
Palate: Masses of stewed rhubarb. Candied nuts, sugared grapefruit, big malt, toffee and nicely judged oak. Leather, nouget, cola, anise and creaming soda.

Finish: Long on a sweet/dry combo.

Last Word: An excellent Miyagikyo which only works for me at cask strength
Rating: 89/100

Miyagikyo Vintage 1988 21YO 50%


Nose: Quite gentle on sweet and peat. Toffee, figs, apples, butterscotch, vanilla, grilled cuttlefish, eggplant, touch of sherry and a hint of gunpowder.
Palate: Nutty, toffee, and a little coffee. Vanille, white plums, hint of peat.
Finish: Short with toffee, vanilla, marshmellows, peat/ash and a little bitterness.

Last Word: A bit light and easy going for my tastes. Nose is the highlight.
Rating: 82/100.

Miyagikyo Single Cask 1989 21YO #40745 60%


Nose: Lime, vanilla, coal, peanut shells, sawdust, toffee, sherry, fresh shellfish, pepper, pineapple, vanilla.
Palate: Salt, big sweet spices, peat, white plums, fresh shellfish, oak, bubblegum, lime, brazil nuts, pistachios.
Finish: Medium on peat/ash, bubblegum, white plums, toffee, pistachios, brazil nuts, mushrooms.

Last Word:What a difference a month open can make. Not a hint of peat at first. Now a lovely balance with the sweeter elements.
Rating: 90/100