In a dark parking lot, to celebrate the day I was born, Bertrum and de Gama presented me with this bottle, pulled uncerimoniously from the back of a car. We were only about 1 hour away from a night of heavy drinking, but we demeed it necessary to pass the bottle around once or twice before surrendering to the yellowish nightmare that is Japanese ビール. From the first whiff after popping the cork I figured this would be a thick, meaty whisky, and it certainly delivered. However, I chose to write this review not on my straight from the bottle swigs before a night of drinking, but the next day in my Ivory tower of solitude.
Remembering how bold and almost brutal this particular drink was, I decided to add a single ice cube. I had purchased a package of Partagas Chicos the day before and thought the rich and earthy flavors of these Cuban smokes would be great with such a robust beverage. Good call on my part, if I do say so myself.
This is a beast of a drink. It has a dry, warm mouthfeel, that has hints of vanilla on the front, although I was surprised at how light in body this was for a cask strength (not that that’s a bad thing). It leaves the mouth a bit paralyzed with numbness, but is kind enough to give you flavors of dried fruits, peat, and wood, as well as a slightly medicinal feeling as consolation. Then the smoke hits. I’m used to Islay whiskeys with lots of smoke right away. The cask strength has more of a rolling crescendo and diminuendo of smoke notes that seems almost to come and go like an ocean tide. Even after one sip this manly whisky will keep giving for quite some time, building layers of flavor. Each progressive sip seems to intensify in taste as the ice cube melts and the whisky opens up. I had been contemplating what bottle I would buy to help me throught the cold Akita winter this year. Thanks to Betrum and DeGama, I need look no further. Cheers gents!