The View from the Golden Promise is a chance to see the bottles under the hammer at finespirits.auction in a new light. To give you this fresh perspective, we’ve called on two experts from the Golden Promise Whisky Bar.
43%, 70 cl
The patina (wax, honey) and fruity notes (apricot, Mirabelle plum, orange) found on this venerable Hibiki immediately impress. The wood is very well-integrated and delivers an elegant bouquet of spices (ginger, nutmeg, clove). The palate gives the same impression, although the wood is perhaps a little more intense and still marked by spices and a hint of mint. A blend with rare finesse and complexity that once again demonstrates Suntory’s unrivalled skill in blending.
43%, 75 cl, Sherry Wood
At its 43% ABV, this Bowmore has no lack of complexity. It boasts the usual notes of exotic fruit (mango, pineapple) typically found in Bowmore of the time, as well as a myriad of citrus fruits (bitter orange, grapefruit, kumquat) and orchard fruits (apricot, plum). It also stands out for its tertiary (leather, coffee), peaty and slightly herbaceous aspect, rarely found with such intensity in Bowmore from the 1960s, which are often more fruit-forward.
46.1%, 70 cl, 3,710 bottles
The Final Vintage is so-named as it is from the distillery’s last year of operation, of which there were few in its history. In fact, Hanyu only really began producing whisky in 1985, and then only on occasion when stocks were needed in response to the burgeoning interest in Japanese whisky. In the spring of 2000, the stills were put back into operation after eight years of silence and Ichiro Akuto—the grandson of the distillery’s founder—joined the production team. With the whisky market showing no sign of recovery, however, the company looked destined for failure and the distillery closed again in the same year. This bottling is in some ways its legacy.
Although not the most intense Hanyu, it does express the distillery’s trademark characteristics, albeit slightly muted, and the nose is lively and round, with malted notes. Veal stock aromas illustrate the animal character Hanyu sometimes takes on. The palate is also lively and peppery, with a light peat, all coated in vanilla. The finish is long, spicy and malty. A great introduction to Hanyu for those unfamiliar with the distillery.
60%, 70 cl, LMDW
Since reopening in 2011, the Mars Shinshu distillery has brought us a host of bottlings that are truly outstanding, despite their young age (lthough this is certainly not a first for Japan). The distillery’s owner Hombo Shuzo has three maturation sites in the archipelago, each at different latitudes. The distillery itself is in the Nagano Prefecture in the centre of Honshu (the largest island), and other warehouses—as well as the new Tsunuki distillery opened in 2016—are found on the island of Kyushu in the south, with a third site located on the island of Yakushima (185 miles south of Kyushu). Three islands, each with their own temperatures and humidity levels, all of which has a major impact on how the casks mature. This gives Mars Shinshu the luxury of being able to produce three different profiles from the same spirit and casks.
This bottling is part of a trilogy selected by La Maison du Whisky that beautifully illustrates these differences. I would be unable to choose a favourite from the three, as they are all excellent. This particular one was aged on the most southerly island. The nose is lively but also offers rich notes of vanilla and lemon cream sprinkled with nutmeg. These are followed by star fruit and malt, with light notes of camphor from the peat. It then becomes refreshingly herbaceous (nettle, aniseed) and floral. The powerful palate opens with the same energy as the nose, but this time the herbaceous notes and a gentle pleasant bitterness are more prominent. The vanilla comes after, enveloped in a subtle peat, adding a more oily texture. The finish is long, offering spices (pepper) and a veil of peat. Note that if a little water is added, the palate becomes more oily and medicinal.