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Osaka, Kansai, Japan
Why is Mizunara, or Japanese oak, so expensive, infamous and prized by distillers?
Mizunara literally translates as “water oak”, partly due to its notorious leakiness as a cask. Mizunara grows slowly, and only reaches maturity at around 200 years old, making it one of the scarcest oak varieties for coopers to work with. Unlike European and American oak trees, Mizunara grows in a changeable, crooked and curvy fashion, meaning that straight planks for barrels are hard to come by.
Nevertheless, the oak is still valued highly by distillers, due to the unique fragrant flavours it imparts to whisky. Kaiyo’s spirit showcases the wood’s qualities to full effect.
This dram has been “teaspooned” – a practice quite common in Scotch whisky – where a small amount of another malt whisky is added to a single malt. This means it is technically a blended malt whisky, but with the flavour profile of a single malt. Partial maturation by the sea gives Kaiyo’s whiskies a subtle brininess.
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Opens up with aromas of floral honey, coconut water, vanilla, sweetly spiced wood (cedarwood, sandalwood and oak), followed by a little green melon.
Light, juicy and refreshing, with vivid flavours of pineapple, green tea, apples, and more melon, giving way to spicier notes of sweet oak, vanilla, caramel and black pepper.
Short, but still packed with character, serving up a blast of sweet oak, cinnamon, vanilla and black tea tannins.