Friday, June 15, 2007

No (Sun)Tory Poli-tricks

Suntory Red or RED Suntory Whisky
Blended Whisky

39% abv (!)

£3.50 (!)*

Today we will look at a whisky from Japan in anticipation of next week which will see us back on the Malt Mission at full strength in an International Malts-themed week.

Why am I tasting this outside of the Malt Mission format?

A few weeks ago I was pointing and clicking through Chris Bunting's informative and fun blog about Japanese whisky, Nonjatta. To be perfectly honest, and possibly politically incorrect, much of what I read on there I find very amusing as it taps into that east-meets-west, cross-cultural confusion, trip to the zoo, "oh, how cute! look what those strange Japanese people do!", kind of way. His presentation certainly helps keep one smiling. Anyways, I came across his notes on something called Suntory Red. I had never seen this stuff and from his description, I could understand why it doesn't make it to these shores. Nonetheless, I was determined to get some.

And I did.

The label tells/warns us that this "masterpiece made with the same traditional craftsmanship as the Akafuda" (Red Label) of the 1930s. Suntory produces most of its whisky for the Japanese market with a small, but growing, percentage reserved for export. This is not one of the exports.

And so I tasted it, but not in the same controlled environment that I usually 'seriously' nose and taste the whiskies in this mission. I spoke the notes into my phone.

*- price based on rough price of 840 yen.


Seedy, rye, oily, verging on turpentine

Bready, sweet, Listerine freshness, verging on turpentine


On a scale of "Try" to "Try to avoid", it depends where you live and what sort of spirit you are, but I say "Try". Once. And as far as I know, that is a pretty cheap drink so far as Japan goes, no? So, when in Rome...

Which brings me back to Nonjatta. Chris tells us that this is likely a whisky made to be consumed as a Mizuwari. Because there are several whiskies on the low-end of the market that fall into this category, Chris has a introduced a series I find absolutely hilarious called the Mizuwari Death Match. After my recent discovery of just how tasty Johnnie Walker Black is on ice, I hope to be able to do this with the real bottom-end blends. Can you imagine High Commissioner VS The Claymore? I look forward to it...

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When it gets to winter I might do a oyuwari challenge. Oyu is hot water and that is another spirit drinking institution over here.