Isawa Vintage 1983 25 YO
Isawa Vintage 1983 25 YO, 43 %
From time to time we come across whisky from distilleries we have never heard of before. This is only natural, of course, there are a huge number of distilleries out there. But when the whisky in question is also very old (25 YO) and from Japan our curiosity is definitely piqued. There are not that many well-established whisky destilleries in Japan, and we have visited several and tasted whisky from all of them...or that's what we thought.
The Isawa Vintage 1983 25 YO is produced by the company Monde Shuzou, in Yamanashi prefecture in Japan. There is not a lot of info on this distillery online, at least in English. Here's the best I found; taken from the superb whisky blog Nonjatta:
Monde Shuzou, established in 1952, is a reasonably well established wine maker. Yamanashi is one of the main Japanese wine making areas and Monde (pronounced Mon-duh in Japanese) can pump out 20,000 bottles of the stuff a day. It has a workforce of 44 people.
Like many Japanese wine makers, it has a long history of dabbling in other foreign alcohols. It has been selling very small amounts of its two brands of blended whisky for a while: "Royal Crystal" and "Fuji no Sei".
This product was imported to Europe by the French company Les Whiskies du Monde, the same company that import Togouchi (see review here). The bottles of Isawa Vintage 1983 25 YO made their way to Europe in May 2011, which begs the question - what happened between 2008 and 2011? Did they not manage to sell these bottles in Japan for some reason?
Nose (22/25): Farmyard notes, tomato plant, pine sap, fruit wine, and tons of fresh herbs. Wow, this is funky! And the aromas just keep on coming; camphor, blackcurrant, trappist beer, mild caramel and hints of ammonia.
Taste (19/25): Thin mouthfeel - less body than a super skinny catwalk model. Mild hints of caramel and oak. That's it.
Finish (20/25): Continues much as it started. There is a bit more caramel here, and notes of farmyard and something a little sour.
Balance (20/25): A somewhat strange experience. The nose was a lot of fun, but the taste was rather forgettable.
Sláinte! - Thomas