Flaviar Tasting Set – “Whisky’s Big in Japan”

Flaviar is a really simple, really neat idea. Subscribe to them and get sent a tasting pack of whiskies. Get some friends around for a tasting party, or just work through them yourself to make notes on a wide selection of drinks. Whatever. Then you can make purchases of what you like, with discount. Pretty good, no?

I got sent a Flaviar pack to try and opted for the “Whisky’s Big in Japan” because, well, I’m a big admirer of Japanese whiskies, and the tasting pack had some interesting drams I’d not had before. First off, here are my lightning-fast reviews:

Isawa 10 Years Old: GOOD GOD. Weird as hell on the nose. Smells like I’ve knocked something over in a hardware store and it’s spilled all over the floor. The taste isn’t much better. Vermouthy, maybe, with some vanilla, almond syrup. Menthol. Mouthwash. Disgusting. In Internet parlance: WTF?

Taketsuru 12 Years Old: Now that’s a bit more like it. Delicate. Stewed fruits. Big late summer fruits. Vegetative. Good clean mouth feel, firm texture, and all those same flavours follow through nicely. A little oily, and some apples in there. Isn’t going to set the world on fire though.

Yamazaki 12 Years Old: Apples, floral notes, grass, grape juice. A citrusy wine, taken over by peppery notes and other spices. A a hint of honey. It’s very clean and delicate indeed. A solid summertime dram.

Nikka From The Barrel: The best value blended whisky in the world bar none. A big, ballsy, in your face, treacle-smacker of a dram. Never disappoints.

Hakushu Bourbon Barrel: Absolutely delicious. Silky like cream, with a delicately warm peat fire. Then lots of treacle sponge and custard, yet that sweetness contrasts beautifully with the smoke. Really well balanced.

So there we go. A mixed bunch, certainly. I have no idea why the Isawa is in there, since something like that could easily make something think Japanese whisky sucks – whereas many people, myself included, go to great lengths to say the opposite. Maybe it’s in there so you appreciate the others, who knows?

That aside, I can really appreciate what Flaviar are doing. This is a Very Good Idea. Now, I think you could probably share this with one other friend in reality – sharing this between three is probably pushing it a bit, and would make you a stingy host. That said, what a great idea for trying out new things. I’d recommend this for relative newcomers more than experienced whisky drinkers, though, as you’d probably have come across some of these already. (I know I’d previously tried three from this set.)

Check out their website. They offer a range of packages, which are around £24.99 a month. So you’re paying £25 for five UK doubles – at £2.50 a measure, that’s cheaper than you’d pay in a bar. In thrifty times, this is a pretty good way of broadening your horizons.

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