What have you been drinking, sipping and enjoying, in the world of whisky/whiskey spirits lately? Discussion about Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, international whiskey, bourbon, etc. are all...
What have you been drinking, sipping and enjoying, in the world of whisky/whiskey spirits lately? Discussion about Scotch whisky, Irish whiskey, international whiskey, bourbon, etc. are all welcome. Please don't just make a list of titles, give some thoughts, reviews, and tales about the spirits if you like!
I myself was thoroughly surprised at a whisky bar today with the Hatozaki 12. I went to the bar to try out my first Japanese whiskey's and found Hatozaki 12. It was absolutely lovely, bottled with integrity and at a fair price ($8/oz). I was not expecting such fruity and floral notes. I tried out a few from Nikka and Suntory and was not impressed. The Nikka Yoichi tasted off and a wee bit musty. The Suntory felt too light and like it belongs in a highball. I am looking forward to continuing the journey of exploration with Japanese whisky in the future. It is a stark change from the Islay Scotch whisky I drink regularly.
- Hatozaki 12 - Small Batch - Umeshu Cask: 87/100
Owner: Akashi Sake Brewery LTD
Region: Kaikyo Distillery, Akashi City, Hyogo, Japan
Nose: Vanilla, honey, floral, cream, red apple, fresh fruit
Palate: Vanilla, toffee, cherry blossom, peaches in cream, lavender
Finish: Vanilla, floral, lavender, cream linger for several minutes after
Note: Non-chill filtered, Natural Color, 46% ABV, speyside feel with some added bonus
My grading chart:
- 98 – 100 (A+) = Booze Nirvana.
This is the promised land where every sense is satisfied and, unless it’s a perfect 100, you have to search and nit-pick for what’s wrong instead of what’s right about this whiskey because it’s so on point.
- 93 – 97 (A) = Exceptional – Superior in every way
These are the best of the best and within spitting distance of Nirvana. They embody everything that category is about and then elevate it to another level. These are ones I HIGHLY recommend.
- 90 – 92 (A-) = Excellent – want to buy a case
Whiskeys that hit this rating are extra awesome. They’re delicious and complex Daily Drinkers and even though they are not quite best-in-class, they’re among my favorite whiskeys and I would wholeheartedly recommend them to anyone at any time.
- 87 – 89 (B+) = Great – always want to have a bottle
These are whiskeys that as soon as you taste them you say, “I want to own a bottle” and if you already own the bottle, you just smile because it’s yours. It’s not a record breaker by any means, just a good solid delicious whiskey.
- 83 – 86 (B) = Good – not a “must”, but a nice-to-have
The majority of my baselines are found here. This range is where the “daily drinker” status starts to emerge and where I find whiskies that’re good to drink but may rotate in and out of my collection. They’re not something you’d miss when it’s out, but good enough to give a moment’s consideration when at the liquor store.
- 80 – 82 (B-) = Not-too-bad – no major flaws, worth tasting
This is the stuff I’d recommend you try at the bar or at a friend’s house before buying a bottle. There’s nothing really wrong with it, it’s just not… quite… there.
- 77 – 79 (C+) = Average – not good, not bad, just is
There might be some minor flaws, all-in-all it’s not offensive, but it might be boring. There’s just nothing at all noteworthy about this whiskey. Would recommend to starters.
- 73 – 76 (C) = Below average – drinkable, but better as a mixer / party booze
It’s not like you or I actually WANT to drink this stuff, but sometimes you’re at a wedding or a shitty bar and it just happens to be there, and a beer just doesn’t sound great, so you grin and bear a glass or, when possible, ask for it in a cocktail. If the bartender sucks, you might even take a bit of solace in the knowledge that they didn’t ruin a good whiskey with their terrible cocktail.
- 70 – 72 (C-) = Not good – nearly undrinkable, wonder why the hell they made it
When I drink this stuff, I wonder if the Master Distiller is actually proud of what they’ve put out or if it’s something they just shove out to make a quick buck. I then wonder about the person who habitually buy it and wonder what admirable qualities they find in it that I can’t.
- 60 – 69 (D) = The only thing this should be used for is making Jungle Juice, and even then, Seriously, I start to wonder if it’s even safe for human consumption at this point. - It’s just plain vile.
- 59 – 0 (F) = Horrifically flawed – the worst
This is when I call the FDA because I’m pretty damn sure it’s not safe to drink this swill.