Good things come to those who wait – even more so at this time of year – and that’s certainly the case with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s first release from Japanese distillery 130 since 2013.
Out today are two bottles, Cask No. 130.2: Tropical thunder and Cask No. 130.3: Bamboo wood and cherry blossom.
Both bottlings won accolades at the recent Independent Bottlers’ Challenge competition, with Cask No. 130.2: Tropical thunder winning silver and Cask No. 130.3: Bamboo wood and cherry blossom taking gold in the 12 Years & Under category – a result that helped the SMWS win the overall title of Independent Bottler of the Year for Japanese whisky.
SMWS spirits manager Euan Campbell says: “It’s fascinating to try these two whiskies side by side to observe the divergent paths they’ve taken as a result of 130.3: Bamboo wood and cherry blossom being transferred to a wine cask.”
Cask No. 130.2: Tropical thunder is an 8-year-old bottling from a first-fill bourbon barrel that fits into our Spicy & Sweet flavour profile. Its nose has a dusty note of talcum powder and new leather, with drops of over-ripe mango and kiwi splashed onto sandalwood. Then is becomes spicy with cumin, cinnamon and a hot bolt of red chilli. Water brings fresh ginger with grapefruit pith and a lasting sensation of vanilla milkshake and ice cream floats.
Cask No. 130.3: Bamboo wood and cherry blossom is a 6-year-old from our Young & Spritely flavour profile. After three years in a bourbon barrel the whisky was transferred into a pinot noir hogshead, giving it notes of red wine, redcurrant, chocolate orange and polished furniture. The palate picks up sherry notes, sweet rosé wine, tonic wine and grappa, with stewed apples, cherry pie, coconut and cough mixture. The reduced nose has red laces, bamboo wood and cherry blossom, while the palate finds honey on toast and ripe fig with a dry, spicy and perfumed finish – lots of flavour and really complex for its age.
Distillery 130 is located around two hours by train from Tokyo, in the Saitama Prefecture. It was opened in 2008 by industry veteran Ichiro Akuto and is renowned for using local ingredients and traditional malting processes.
Here’s the Society’s Hannah Miles with her review of the two bottlings from distillery 130: