A wardrobe of Whisky Blog - tasting notes, collection and best shops for buying whisky online A wardrobe of Whisky Blog - tasting notes, collection and best shops for buying whisky online
“Because you can't buy happiness... but you can buy whisky and that's pretty much the same thing”

Read stories about Suntory of A Wardrobe of Whisky blog.

You can read here older articles posted in A Wardrobe of Whisky since 2009.
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Suntory Hibiki 17 years old: Japanese perfection

By Miguel in Tasting , Suntory , Hibiki

“Mindblowing Japanese blended whisky! I wasn't ready for something so good. Ordering right now”

Suntory Hibiki 17 year
A fantastic Japanese blend, made with aged malt and grain whiskies from Suntory's three distilleries. Spicy and sophisticated, this is great for catching people out at blind tastings. Recently awarded a Gold 'Editor's Choice' award from Whisky Magazine and picked up the top prize in its category at the World Whisky Awards 2010

This dram has a cooper-like color.

Nose (91): more than average. honey, vanilla, citrus, cinnamon, spices, wax, fruity. Lots of Yamakazi single malt on this whisky.

Palate (91): powerful. honey, fruity, nuts, leather, citrus, pears, vanilla, cinnamon, wood. Delicious

Finish (90): longer than average. honey, nuts, citrus, peat.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Suntory Hibiki 17 year with 91 points over 100.

Japanese delights: Tasting Suntory Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Nikka Taketsuru

By Miguel in Tasting , Featured , Nikka , Suntory , Yamazaki , Hakushu , Hibiki

After all the buzz with Whisky Show 2012, I was desperately in need of more good whisky. I have sorted all my samples in a very nice way, which allows me to grab all of them easily for vertical tastings.

Yeah, very nice, but when you just want to have a few drams it doesn’t look such a good decision. I have still to think about how to sort them in a better way. ( Any ideas btw? )

I have take thirteen japanese single malts and blended whiskies to taste. They have been there in a box around three months for me to find a few spare hours to taste them. Well, today is the day!.


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TWE Whisky Show 2012: What I couldn't taste [Part 4]

By Miguel in Laphroaig , Cooley , Chivas , Johnnie Walker , The Macallan , Dewar , Penderyn , Bunnahabhain , Compass Box , Monkey Shoulder , Glenfiddich , The Balvenie , Kilchoman , Highland Park , Bowmore , Yoichi , Nikka , Suntory , Balblair , Redbreast , Glenfarclas , Connemara , Ichiro , Rosebank , Benriach , Glendronach , Old Pulteney , Dalmore , Glen Garioch , Big Peat , Glenglassaugh , Glenrothes , Maker's Mark , Hibiki , Four Roses , Glencadam , Wemyss , Douglas Laing

This post continue from TWE Whisky Show [Part 3]

The Whisky Exchange Whisky Show 2012 took place at October 6th and 7th and although it has been a great experience it has been a short one. With over 450 whiskies to taste and just barely six hours ahead it was impossible to taste them all.

What I couldn’t taste

This post is just a set of photos of what I couldn’t taste. Sorry, people… I can write about this because I get sad… so great stuff that I had to skip… *sniff*

I visited Compass Box stand for saying hi to Chris and I take a few photos with the people on the show.

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Suntory Hibiki 12 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Suntory , Hibiki

“A great whisky - sherry and bourbon blended with exquisite taste. Maybe a Balvenie Doublewood?”

Suntory Hibiki 12 year
A stunning 12 year-old blend from Hibiki. Lovely malt from Hakushu and Yamazaki, plus some aged grain from Chita - and part matured in casks formerly home to Japanese plum liqueur! One of the best new releases of 2009, without a doubt. Picked up the top prize in its category at the World Whisky Awards 2010.

This dram has a gold-like color.

Nose (90): more than average. honey, vanilla, peaches, flowers, spices, citrus.

Palate (91): powerful, oily. honey, wood, vanilla, tobacco, plums, raisins, citrus, spices.

Finish (91): longer than average. honey, vanilla, tobacco.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Suntory Hibiki 12 year with 91 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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WhiskyLive Madrid 2011 Tastings

By Miguel in Tasting , News , Featured , Destilerias Liber , Laphroaig , DYC , The Macallan , Compass Box , Suntory , Yamazaki , Edradour , Talisker

WhiskyLive Madrid 2011 celebrated at May, 26 on Hotel Villamagna, has been a great whisky show against all the odds: Great whisky, pretty girls, good friend. Whatelse?!

Touching a bottle of Macallan 25 years old at Macallan Masterclass in WhiskyLive MadridFinally I got time to write down the tasting notes and here they are. I am quite happy of the result. The whisky show has been great and I tried lots of expressions that it is not easy to taste here in Spain.

During the evening at WhiskyLive Madrid, that I spent with Richard Barr of WhiskyIsrael, we tasted more than twenty whiskies so bear with me if last tasting notes are not accurate.
If you haven’t read yet about our visit to WhiskyLive do it now!. We had a great evening together.

So here are the tasting notes. I am still missing some of them that I wasn’t able to properly write while on the show.

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WhiskyLive Madrid 2011: A whisky show at Spain's heart

By Miguel in News , Featured , Destilerias Liber , Laphroaig , Lagavulin , DYC , Cardhu , St George , The Macallan , Compass Box , Glenfiddich , Highland Park , Bowmore , Suntory , Yamazaki , Redbreast , Edradour , Talisker

Taking place at the Madrid business center, at the Hotel Villamagna, this whisky fair, although small, has been really interesting with lots of surprises.

Hotel Villa Magna at Madrid

Before attending the show, I meet Richards Barr, a member of Whiskyisrael that was also attending the show and we went there together after having a tasty Spanish lunch.
Richard Barr and Miguel Angel Blanch after 25 drams of whisky at Whiskylive Madrid

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Suntory Yamazaki 12 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Suntory , Yamazaki
Suntory Yamazaki 12 year
'A pioneering malt in Japan, for which Suntory deserve great credit. In its early days, it was rounded and delicate...now it is more intense, confident and elegant. 8/10' Michael Jackson, Whisky Magazine, Oct 2002

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (93): more than average. sweet, spices, pepper, floral, fruits.

Palate (90): smooth, oily, powerful. sweet, floral, spices, wood, peaches.

Finish (90): long. sweet, wood, spices, fruits, mango.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Suntory Yamazaki 12 year with 91 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Made in Japan: Rising sun whisky

By Miguel in News , Featured , Yoichi , Nikka , Suntory , Yamazaki , Chichibu , Hanyu , Miyagikyo

Japan flag

Japan started creating whisky just around 1870 but since then they have produced some of the best single malts whiskies. The secret? Extreme care for details

Help Japan! Please donate to your local branch of the Red Cross

Japanese whisky was first commercialized by Yamazaki in 1924. At first Japanese struggle to create the most similar whisky possible to Scottish whisky but they have now discovered that their own style, similar to Speyside whiskies, of whisky is incredible good.

Suntory and Nikka

Japan whisky is dominated by two giant brands: Nikka and Suntory.


Shinjiro Torii was a pharmaceutical wholesaler and founder of Kotobukiya. He imported western liquor and created a brand called Akadana Port Wine which made him a successful merchant.
He embarked in a new venture: making Japanese whisky for japanese people. Despite the opposition of the company executives, Torii decided to build the first distillery in Yamazaki, a suburb of Kyoto, an area famous for its waters.

Torii hided Masataka Taketsuru as distillery executive. Taketsuru had been studying the art of distilling whisky in Scotland and brought this knowledge back to Japan. He played a central role in helping Torii establish Yamazaki.

In 1929, Suntory introduced Suntory Shirofuda (Japanese for “white label”), Japan’s first genuine domestically produced whisky. Kakubin (“square bottle”), a premium Japanese whisky, was born in 1937.

With the introduction of Hakushu in 1973, Suntory developed an several varieties of malt whiskies and brought to market such products as Yamazaki single malt whisky, Hakushu and Hibiki blended whisky.


In 1934 Taketsuru left Yamazaki to create his own company: Dainippon Kaju which would later change its name to Nikka. He decided to establish the Yoichi distillery in Hokkaido.

Yoichi produces rich, peaty and masculine malt. The whisky gets its distinct aroma and body from direct heating distillation, in which the pot stills are heated with finely powdered natural coal -the traditional method that is hardly ever used today, even in Scotland.

The Miyagikyo Distillery is also in northern Japan, in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Honshu. Traveling in the area one day, Masataka came upon this site completely enclosed by mountains and sandwiched between two rivers. He immediately knew that this was the perfect site for whisky distilling. Sendai’s fresh water, suitable humidity and crisp air produce soft and mild malt.

Most relevant distilleries

There are nowdays ten whisky distilleries in Japan, most relevant here in Western world are:

Suntory Yamazaki

Located in Shimamoto, Osaka, owned by Suntory. It was opened in 1923 and was Japan’s first whisky distillery.

Suntory Hakushu

Suntory built another distillery in Hakushu at the foot of Mt. Kaikomagatake in the Southern Japan Alps.

Nikka Yoichi

About 50km west of Sapporo City in southern Hokkaido, which is the northernmost of Japan’s four principal islands.

Nikka Sendai or Miyagikyo

It is also in northern Japan, in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Honshu.


In 1980, serious attempts to produce a Scotch Whisky-type product began and two pot stills were obtained. At the time, consumer demand was for blended whisky rather than single malt. Obviously since then there has been a worldwide shift towards single malts and in 1990 Chichibu whisky was launched, named after the place where the sake was originally produced. However, single malts require such a long maturation period that conditions were tough commercially.Ownership changed hands and the new management decided to get rid of the stocks of maturing malts and the distillation facilities.


Karuizawa was actually a vineyard in 1955 when then-owner Daikoku-budoshu decided to enter a Japanese whisky industry still in its infancy, and base a distillery in the shadow of active volcano, Mount Asama. In 1962, it then merged with current owner, Mercian.

The distillery is tiny and the aim is traditional, small-scale production to create quality whiskies. Karuizawa uses 100% Golden Promise barley, wooden washbacks, small stills and sherry casks sourced from Spain.

Ichiro / Chichibu

Fortunately, a sake maker from northern Japan, Sasanokawa Shuzo, came to the rescue of Hanyu Distillery and agreed to take over the stocks and production facilities at this critical time. Subsequently Ichiro Akuto, the grandson of the founder of the Hanyu Distillery, established a new company called Venture Whisky to again produce single malt whisky.

Blended Japanese whisky

Until fairly recent, Japanese whisky market has been domestic. Blended Japanese whisky is produced in a different ways than Scotch blended whisky. While in Scotland different brands trade their whiskies stocks to create new profiles, in Japan each brand owns its own distilleries and their blended malts contains only whisky from their portfolio of distilleries, giving them a shorted palette to create blended whisky.

Japanese whisky from my collection


Yoichi and Miyagikyo

Nikka blends


Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki