single cask battle: Miyagikyo vs Chichibu vs Hakushu
Updated: Nov 22, 2020
For full disclosure, I personally enjoy Hakushu over Yamazaki and Miyagikyo over Yoichi, and both over Chichibu 😇
The TLDR: Hakushu (88.3 points) and Miyagikyo (89 point) both had great tropical notes which I loved, but the Miyagikyo had a more complex nose which gave it the edge! The Chichibu (85 points) was good.
[Bottle Review] Hakushu 2F41566 1992/2008 (61%)
Bottling Date: 2008
Cask Type: Hogshead, cask 2F41566
# bottles: 185
Bottled for: Japan, The Owner's Cask (owner not stated)
Auction price at time of writing: No data
Original Retail Price: ~$60-100 (best guess)
Smoky mist with green apple intertwined, creamy, vanilla, ripe cantaloupe, very light tropical notes (mostly tinned pineapple), slight glue varnish if you inhale too deep, followed by mint and chalk board dust. That last part transported me way back to grade school and clapping erasers, if anyone here is old enough to remember chalkboards 😅
Very ripe in general, ripe fruit (jackfruit?) and banana, then intense white pepper and ginger. Creamy then red berry notes on top of the cream (strawberry cream?) then definitely green apples again. Green apples are a note I get in the standard Hakushu 12 release, but this is much more intense. Also more tropical notes hovering around guavas.
Now there is clear tinned pineapple, bitter oak, banana hi-chew, vanilla, then ginger spice. Loooong spicy finish with hints of young mango and some dryness
Overall, a good mix of spice and fruits, but the spice is a little too prickly and its not the most complex Hakushu I've tried.
Final Score = 88.3
[Bottle Review] Miyagikyo 10 Year Cask 115345
Bottling Date: 2016.11.07
Cask Type: Not stated, cask 115345
# bottles: Not stated
Bottled for: Japanese release
Auction price at time of writing: No data
Original Retail Price: ~$150-250 (best guess)
Wow more tropical than the hakushu, but also very similar. Mango and pineapple (both!), mint, green apple, maybe some red apples too, then I changed my mind and it's in green jolly rancher territory. Vegetal notes creeping up and then a hint of ginger. I would say a little less deep and mysterious than the hakushu and more fruity, but no glue so that's a plus. Very creamy too. Getting very very close to that Irish Tropical Thunder I so adore ❤️
Creamy, lots of banana and spice, white pepper, honey with honeycomb (this makes sense right? the sweet honey inside fresh waxy honeycomb), bitter tannic notes from the oak, guava and pineapple. A little overpowering on the peppery side!
Green banana, vanilla, cream, lingering spice, much shorter than the hakushu. Honey again, then very clear kiwi notes along with other tropical fruits ala pineapple. Semi drying and some green tea bitterness on the finish.
The nose was fantastic and I was expecting a huge tropical bomb but similar to the Hakushu it was leaning more to the pepper/spicy side. Also, green banana is a little astringent to me and stopped it from going into the 90 category. Still very good 👌
Final Score = 89.0
[Bottle Review] Chichibu 2010 Travel Retail Cask 2650
Bottling Date: 2016
Cask Type: First Cask: American White Oak, Second Cask: Sherry Hogshead. Cask 2650
# bottles: 293
Bottled for: Japan Duty Free
Auction price at time of writing: $1335 oct 2019
Original Retail Price: ~$230
Really sweet, notably with raisins (almost fermented) and rum, but also a grassy nose. Some honey and then just an overpowering ethanol attack. Malted barley and some beer funk. Main takeaway - lots of fermented notes intertwined with sweetness
Almost as sweet as the initial nosing - rum nougat, with some chocolate and caramel notes. Then a good spice from the oak showing up I don't get a huge sherry influence at all, consider some point of this was matured in a Sherry Hogshead. And then it strikes! That weird synthetic bubblegum note that I don't like, and that pops up in a lot of sherry cask and port pipe Chichibu I've tried. Not a big fan of that, but others love it... extremely hot going into the finish. Cant get that note out of my head, but its still good 😅
Strong tannic spice and pleasant caramel notes. Again, that rum raisin that takes me into a prominent coconut taste with the last linger of flavor. My favorite part of the dram
I normally just try neat, but added some water into this one. With water the nose is more honey, the palette is much smoother and less of that weird bubblegum flavor with more subtle sherry notes. The finish is still spicy. So +1 for water
Final Score = 85
Would I drop the money for their current auction prices? Definitely not for the Chichibu. The Miyagikyo could probably pry $500 out of my hands 😅