Review: Kaiyo Mizunara Oak
Kaiyo Mizunara Oak
Malt Whisky - Japan
There’s a wide world of great malt whisky out there that is not limited to just being made in Scotland. Believe it or not, but Japan has been making very exceptional whisky for a very long time steeped in Scottish production standards and style. A very unique and natural difference to some Japanese malts is the use of Mizunara Oak barrels for aging. This soft, expensive, and highly sought after wood, which was initially popular for luxury furniture, eventually found its way to being used for cask building to age whisky in. Now Mizunara Oak is considered to be one of the utmost premier types of barrels for maturation. This of course makes much of the whisky aged in them typically a bit more expensive, but Kaiyo’s bottling of their Mizunara Oak can certainly start to change some of the higher dollar trend.
Overall this whisky is fairly delicate with tropical fruits like banana and pineapple on the nose, a common aroma and character of the Mizunara cask. Light dessert spices and oak notes increase with time as the whisky is able to breath. Definitely worth the while to let this sit and open up for a few minutes before your first sip.
The palate is initially spicy and not expected from the softer nose, but the spice tapers off leaving a warm lingering finish of oak and notes of wild cherries. More often than not a drop of water might be a death sentence for a lighter style whisky like this, especially at only 43% ABV, but, and quite surprisingly, a drop or two will not hurt it. More spices are brought out on the palate and the finish does increase adding toffee notes.