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The folks that follow Angelsportion are going to think I’ve lost my mind. Not only am I reviewing a blended whisky (which I very rarely do), but this particular edition is Japanese. Well, don’t worry. I didn’t blow a gasket. It was a gift given with the request that I promise to review it. Alas, I must be an upstanding gent…

Truth be told, I’m not that far removed from this whisky. In a sense, there already exists within me a particular intrigue for all things Japanese. This is true even in that I’ve tried to teach myself Kanji. A while ago, I received as gifts a Kanji tutorial volume and a “Kanji Everyday” desk calendar, both of which attempt to teach a little bit each day. I’ve learned a little from these resources.  But enough about all that.

I should say first that I appreciated this fine, reusable travel bottle. It holds about two fingers worth of whisky, and now that I have removed the label and inserted it into my little book, I use it to carry along a favorite single malt on overnight excursions. Just perfect. As far as the whisky that previously inhabited it, well, let me just say this…

While the Japanese martial art of Jujutsu has as its primary form what is called “soft hand,” which means that it relies primarily on holds, locks, and more subtle, disabling attacks, it does however employ strike moves. These are sometimes demonstrated by the student’s fisted thrust to the sound of what is called the “kiai.” In this lunge, the student yells something like “hiyah” and attempts to not only show proper technique, but to sometimes break stuff, hard stuff, like wood or concrete. Well, the nose of this whisky is somewhat aggressive. It hops up in a spin, making an attempt at your face, but it is merely to exhibit that it is a whisky of a more intimate precision. It could have killed you with a strike move, but didn’t. Instead, it is going to move in closer for a soft move, and in a sense, it does, offering by the demonstration some softer treats — honey and plums.

But the palate is something altogether different. Here you learn that this particular student is by no means wearing a black belt. There is a spice added to the honey that sours it a bit, almost to the point of it tasting a little bit like gin. Not that I don’t like gin, but if I wanted gin, I’d drink gin. I’m drinking Scotch. Stay in the match, Hibiki.

The finish confirms the lower level of the student. The fruitiness (plum) presented in the original nosing returns, but this results in an unbalanced effect when considering the palate, as if the student started the show with promising skill, but along the way lost the equilibrium and began to totter.

In conclusion, while it wasn’t terrible, I definitely think that had Mr. Miyagi been the “master” behind this edition, I probably would have urged him to give Daniel-san a new paintbrush and send him back to the fence.