Google Olympic Japanese trios, Day 1-bis

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

July 25, 2021



Olympic Japanese trios, Day 1/8-bis (malternatives)
Indeed we could have had some Japanese rums (we may try some next week on Sunday) or some Japanese brandies, or even Shochu, but since there's a large Calvados session planned in August, I thought we could rather have a trio of Japanese 'Apple Brandies' by Nikka. Remember, since Masataka Taketsuru's days, Nikka's always been into apples; I guess we'll tell the story sooner or later…

Nikka 'Apple Brandy V.S.O.P.' (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2015)

Nikka 'Apple Brandy V.S.O.P.' (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2015)
We've tried both the rather light and dry Rita 30 yo brandy (WF 82) and the very good Miyagikyo 'Apple Brandy Wood Finish' (WF 87) which, I suppose has done good use of some empty casks. Having said that, I do not know much about this very brandy, whether they make it themselves or not etc. Let's just try it as the decanter screams 'I'm worth it!' (S., what?). Colour: full gold. Nose: light, rather between a young blended calvados and some sugary rum ala black Bacardi. Not unpleasant at all, naturally, but really thin and after thirty seconds, you would believe you're nosing cider into which someone would have thrown Demerara sugar. Mouth: I'm not too sure. Rather a lot of brown sugar again, some cider again, some leaves and peelings, a little cardboard, then some raw plum spirit, and something rather rough and hot, pretty spirity. Thinnish body. Finish: short and a little dry and even burnt. Comments: I'm reminded of Mekhong 'whisky' and I remember that the Rita Brandy was ten times better (on a scale that is not, contrarily to what many good folks believe, linear!) Anecdotal spirit but the decanter is lovely.
SGP:330 - 50 points.

Did they really make their excellent Yoichi and Miyagikyo 'Apple Brandy Finish' using these casks?... Right, please a second chance…

Nikka 'Apple Brandy X.O.' (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2015)

Nikka 'Apple Brandy X.O.' (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2015) Two stars
Another lovely bottle, this time a white flagon with a very 'medieval pop' label that The Beatles could have used for an album. Or the band 'Renaissance'. Colour: deep gold. Nose: not that different, probably a little drier and closer to the fruit, rather more elegant, with touches of mead beyond the cider, some pleasant fermentary notes, and above all that, no traces of burnt sugar whatsoever. Way, way nicer than the VSOP on the nose. Mouth: but certainly, this is much better, pretty dry and leafy, rather rustic, but with good notes of apples and once again, almost no feeling of 'added sugar'. Finish: rather short, a little drying, a little cardboardy… Some unexpected, earthier notes of eggplant and celeriac in the aftertaste. Comments: again, it's not really my scene but this is better than the VSOP indeed, I doubt anyone would disagree.
SGP:330 - 70 points.

We said trios…

Nikka 12 yo 'Single Apple Brandy Hirosaki' (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2018?)

Nikka 12 yo 'Single Apple Brandy Hirosaki' (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2018?) Three stars
I believe these ones are only available at their whisky distilleries. Hirosaki is the name of a town in the north of Honshu, where they grow a lot of apples, they even have an 'Apple Park' with more than one hundred sorts. To be visited during the apple season, I suppose, but luckily, not all breeds do grow simultaneously. Colour: deep gold. Nose: ah, now we're talking! Lovely varnish, calvados indeed, pear spirit, nail polish, hops, almonds, various kernels, crushed pine nuts, a touch of orange, perhaps even a little incense…  A wonderful nose indeed, miles away from the very disappointing VSOP and XO in my book. Mouth: indeed, very good if a tad green, leafy, peely… Green apples and green walnuts, some earth, pepper, coated with almond paste and, perhaps, a tiny touch of red bean curd. Some sweetness coming through after a few seconds, around… sweet cider. Finish: long, more rustic. More apple peelings and a little candy sugar in the aftertaste. Comments: I liked the nose better than the palate. They call it 'sweet and fruity' but I find it neither sweet nor fruity. But I find it pretty good. Too bad I haven't got anything left from that Rita 30 yo.
SGP:340 - 80 points.

Mixed feelings but I believe those 40% vol. didn't really help either. Tomorrow, back to Japanese whisky, including some excellent ones by Nikka!



Today's Podium

Nikka 12 yo 'Single Apple Brandy Hirosaki' (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2018?)
Nikka 'Apple Brandy X.O.' (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2015)
Nikka 'Apple Brandy V.S.O.P.' (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2015)







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