The nose on this dram is thick like a terrible secret, but one that you deemed well worth it at the time. We found notes of a a jitterbug marathon, and a tea made from golden raisins and poured over sultanas, and a pencil eraser orgy (such things, it should be noted result in no offspring, just mounds of rublets (or rubberings, for our UK readers)). The nose is like the flower from the tree of a fine, delicate tea, where the flower opens up and bees fly out of it. But fairy bees, not real ones. And they bring you your tie when you’re getting dressed. It’s a coy nose, however, as if it refuses to emanate from the glass because it’s hiding beneath the satin bedsheets.
The mouth is exquisite. There are orange peels sautéed in raspberry oil, followed by the subtle flavors of a post-apartheid rooibos mixed with a Darjeeling white tea. It’s surprising and exhilirating, like going to take communion, but instead of a wafer, you get the thinnest slice of caramel fudge, and instead of a priest, it’s given to you by a smoking hot nun. The sacrilege only adds to the effect.
The finish is long and undulating, like sex on a waterbed is supposed to be. Waves of spice and warming affection and endorphin-induced feelings of well-being suffuse the palate. Go back to the nose now, and it’s even more beautiful: wood with peerless grain carved and finished by a master jade carver as an offering to the wood spirits. And the mouth is like cloudy apple cider just about to ferment (the yeast had blasted out their party invitation just moments before). This whisky represents more than a four year leap from the Hibiki 17. The transformations that occurred in the intervening years brought this whisky forward into a maturity well beyond its stated age.
–Our thanks to Exposure and Suntory for the sample!