Thursday, March 8, 2012

Whisky Review: Cragganmore 12 vs. Yamazaki 12

After discovering the Brooklyn Park Pub's Whiskey Club, I decided to take a trip down the way to check out their selection of whiskies. While it leans towards bourbon and rye whiskies, there were a few single malts in stock that I'd been meaning to try. As always, these are only provisional reviews, but I feel like I got a decent sense of what's going on.

Cragganmore 12 Year

Nose: malt, fresh apple, floral, hints of sherry, which becomes a bit sweeter, with a bit of honey and chocolate, plus overall a bit more richness after adding a few drops of water

Taste: light honey heather up front, fades into drier malt, which also becomes a bit richer, with a touch of pepper near the back after dilution

Finish: very light, with a bit of peat and cacao

This whisky is one of the Speyside offerings from Diageo. It feels a lot like a younger Glenfiddich, but with a bit more richness. Unfortunately it's also significantly more expensive than the 12 year old Glenfiddich, which makes it a bit of a tricky sell to me. But if lighter whiskies are a thing you like, this is a good one to try.

Yamazaki 12 Year

Nose: a healthy dose of toasty oak, bright, fresh fruits, sweet malt and vanilla, which becomes a bit lighter and more perfumed, with less oak and more brown sugar, a general ruminess, and sweetened porridge after dilution

Taste: honey and brown sugar up front, an interlude of pepper, cinnamon and oak, then cocoa powder, which gets more sugary and malty, with a bit less oak

Finish: berries, malt and cacao

Now this is more like it. One of the younger whiskies from Suntory, this is quite reminiscent of a Speyside single malt. At the same time, it also reminds me quite a bit of Scarlet Ibis rum, both because of the toasty oak and general rummy flavors. I was much happier with this dram and will probably buy a whole bottle to explore it more. Also looking forward to trying its elder 18 year old brother.

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