Whisky Auctioneer: Japanese Whisky Tasting


This tasting was a while ago, but it was so fantastic, that I had to write about it. For those of you who don’t know, Whisky Auctioneer is a whisky auction website that was set up by Iain McClune, a friend and ex colleague of mine.  It is good to see people making use of their knowledge, talent and passion, and for Iain this meant specialising in dealing in the super rare and collectible.

Whisky Auctioneer was established in 2013, and this tasting was kind of put on to celebrate their continued success, with friends and customers. It was held at the Kilderkin Pub at the Royal Mile. I went along intrigued, as I wondered what fantastic Japanese whiskies Iain had managed to get hold of. I wasn’t disappointed:

Dram one: Fuji Gotemba 18 Year Old Single Malt

An 18 Year Old, matured in ex Bourbon casks, from the Fuji Gotemba distillery, which was founded by Kirin-Seagram in the 1970′s. It was light, fruity, with a touch of pine. A nice start, although you got the feeling Iain was saving the big guns for after this aperitif. Probably too light for me to want to buy a whole bottle.

Dram 2: Chita 4 Year Old Single Grain from the SMWS

An absolute joy of a dram. Most of Chita gets used for Hibiki blended whisky, and this was the first time I was able to try it on its own. Tropical fruits, blackcurrant, apricot, fudge, hazelnut, marzipan. Yummy yum yum yum. Not only at its age, but at any age this is a really good whisky. The finish was slightly quick, but that is a minor critisim. Some of the table found it a little sweet, but I enjoyed that sweetness.

Dram 3: Yamazaki 11 Year Old Single Malt from the SMWS

A big sherried number. Chocolate cake mix, marmite, cherries, rye bread, followed by juicy apricot and dark chocolate. It was good, but required a few visits to really understand it and appreciate it. With the way prices are going with Yamazaki, and availability, I hope the SMWS bought lots of Yamazaki casks.

Dram 4: Karuizawa 4th Release. A vatting of sherry casks from 99/00

I am a big fan of Karuizawa (the closed Japanese distillery that has almost attained legendary status) but this one was weird. Meaty notes, soy sauce, burnt wool, oily, ginger, chalky and liquorice. Not a fan.

Dram 5: Chichibu Peated 2009-2012

The young whiskies in this tasting were epic. First the Chita, now this oily, briney, ashy and sweet smoke infused Chichibu.

Overall, although there were some in the lineup not to my taste, the tasting itself was brilliant, as all the flavours were intriguing. If you happen to spot the Chita on an auction soon, buy it.

Chris Hoban

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