Updated: Jul 20, 2020
Score: 8.7 / 10
Type: Japanese Blended
Technically a craft distillery, this is actually the second coming of the brand. They began in the 1980's, but were wiped out when the whisky bubble exploded nearly 10 years later. Interestingly though, Akuto kept the whisky from the old Hanyu distillery and created the Ichiro's playing card series. Slowly releasing it after the distillery's demise. This tactic was very successful and lead to Ichiro's comeback later in 2008. By the way..... the playing card series, which includes 58 bottles sold for $917,000 in August of 2019. That's $15,000 dollars per bottle for you math gurus. So yeah, I would say that's pretty successful brand marketing.
On to the whisky at hand, the Malt and Grain World Blended Edition. I saw this out of the corner of my eye on my way out of the country at Narita Airport. I had wanted to try an Ichiro expression, and after a quick lookup on wine-searcher.com (always my go to) it looked like a stellar deal. However, my research failed me and the 2019 edition was the valuable one. While I did in fact buy this in 2019, it didn't say that on the bottle. I couldn't find any date on here and I can even read a decent amount of Japanese. So feeling like this is just the generic bottling for every year from here on out. I don't expect it to raise in value. So..... let's crack it!
One last note. I'm not super convinced that this isn't just the normal Malt and Grain that you can find at stores in the US with a fancy label. I need to do the comparison, but Ichiro's Malt and Grain is super expensive for what it is ($109 - $129), so I don't think it's going to happen. I'll just return to feeling taken advantage of lol. If you want to hear our live tasting of this whisky, check out Po It Up whiskey podcast episode 15 here.
Nose: Honey, crisp green apple, pineapple, cantaloupe, hoppy IPA beer, malted barley, slight ethanol
Palate: Upfront burning sensation, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, (all the single melons? All the single melons), caramel apple, virgin oak
Finish: Long. Carbonated Burning (you read that right. something about this whisky feels carbonated to me. Though obviously it's not), melons again front and center, honey and virgin oak linger
S+ Sensational - The Pinnacle (9.5+)
A - AXEceptional (astounding) (9-9.5)
B - bravo (step aBove average) (8-8.9)
C - competent (7-7.9)
D - disappointing (6-6.9)
F - flush it down the toilet (fail) (5.9 below)
Notes: Availability? Rare. You can only buy this whisky at Japanese duty free shops. I believe that each airport carries this, but I am not sure. I got this bottle for $220 at Narita airport. so leave plenty of time for searching, or reserve it before you fly out!
I'll even take that one step further. If you fly into or out of Narita.... Do not leave that airport without a Nikka Gold and Gold Samurai bottle!! You'll regret it forever.