Japanese Whisky Tasting at the Broadfield | Mashtun and Meow: Sheffield Beer Blog

Friday, 14 March 2014

Japanese Whisky Tasting at the Broadfield

So, we return once again to the lovely upstairs room of the Broadfield for another whisky tasting: this time, the focus is on the east and the produce of the Japanese.

As you may have seen previously, these events, run by Ed Daly (@whiskycurator), consist of five fine whiskies. Tonight's proceedings open with the Hibiki 12. This is a Suntory whisky of great character, and with an attention to detail unsurpassed by most of the blends on the market. It is constructed by at least 35 different whiskies, all of which are exclusive to the Hibiki 12 year. It is this commitment to great balance that is reflected in the overall sweet vanilla flavour, which gives way to a peppery spiced finish.
This dram is followed closely by the Hakushu Bourbon Barrel; a whisky that comes to the UK in relatively small batches. It has a honey nose with a slight raisiny edge. As the whisky flows across the palate, a new flavour, more homely yet sophisticated like banoffee pie emerges. The warmth of the 48.2% spirit lingers pleasantly towards a fruity end.
Nikka 'from the Barrel' is next, with easily the cutest bottle of the night, reminiscent of a traditional yet oversized pill bottle. This is a delicious whisky that sings of spiced oak, and not in the least bit medicinal. As tonight's whiskies go it is one that I have drunk before and would do so again (and again) - it's spiced nature is held strong with sweeter, creamier flavours, which work along to a lovely oak spice across the palate and into the finish.
Between the third and fourth whiskies we were given opportunity to get another pint and go for a cigarette, with the reassurance from our host that the whiskies will power through any dulling that 10 minutes smoking can do to the taste buds. So down to the bar for a pint of Summer Wine Barista - an espresso stout of monumental coffee-osity - before returning to the upstairs parlour.
As promised these two were bold, punchy and above all delicious. The Karuizawa, a whisky with 'no age statement' (a dirty phrase between the more traditional whisky drinkers), is a demerara sweet sherried whisky. The whisky is compiled from 77 different sherry casks to create this dark in colour and vibrant in flavour dram of light ginger spice, while at the same time possessing the body of a good red wine that stays on the tongue sweetly and luxuriously.
As with most tastings the night ends on lofty heights with the multi award winning Yamazaki 18 year, a Pedro Ximinez aged gorgeously balanced fruity number. The nose tingles with apples and hints of pear. Its depth and complexity build as you hold it in the mouth and let it wash over the tongue and down the throat, as in the last movement of Beethoven's glorious Symphony No. 9, where the entire spectacle comes to an end with a chorus of a thousand. The long yet dainty fruit-filled finish stays in the mouth long after sending the delightful spirit to the stomach. Divine.
Accompanying each of the whiskies was a simply stunning handmade piece of sushi (one of Ed's hidden talents) - it tasted as good as it looked. See for yourself just how good!
We may have "accidentally" booked ourselves onto another two future tastings, and we can't wait to see what the next one will bring.
Kanpai!
Jim

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