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7 Years Old Kaiyō The Single Japanese is a slight departure from the other bottles we’ve reviewed. For starters, it’s the only one with an age statement. Next, it’s specifically a “Kaiyō The Single Japanese” rather than simply “Mizunara Oak.” Given what we heard about the other bottles, the 7 Years Old bottle is likely aged significantly longer prior to its journey at sea, the Kaiyō trademark.
Now, I don’t really know where to draw the line between “Kaiyō The Single Japanese” and “Mizunara Oak Finish.” But apparently it’s somewhere after 3 years of maturity. Bourbon casks on land, then Kaiyō’s own mizunara casks at sea. Honey, Coconut, Vanilla. Mizunara Oak Finish.
“The Single” whiskey from Kaiyo is a 7 year old malt whiskey, made on a coffey still in Japan, and aged in bourbon barrels before spending 6 months aging on the ocean in Japanese Mizunara oak. Vanilla, honey, floral and hints of spice and coconut. A honey note lingers on the finish.
Looking around online you see a lot of indications that this is a whisky created using “coffee malt,” likely some confusion there with Coffey malt. Nikka Whisky of course makes both Coffey Malt and Coffey Grain up in Kaiyō The Single Japanese on a Coffey still. So was this whisky originally distilled there, teaspooned, then given the Kaiyō treatment afterwards? Nikka and Asahi are connected, too, so it fits in with the Kaiyō narrative.
Nose: Another fruity number, but more tropical this time around. I get banana, coconut and vanilla.
Palate: Nearly weightless, quite delicate more malt-driven than oak. White pepper and other spices along the way.
Finish: Begin with some citrus, think orange and tangy grapefruit, alongside a hint of sea spray. Then moves over to warm spiced oak, but goes back towards the tropics at the end. A wonderful bottle for the winter!